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Title:  The Malay Archipelago  Volume 1

Author:  by Alfred Russell Wallace

February, 2001  [Etext #2530]

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The land of the orang-utan, and the bird or paradise.

A narrative of travel, with sketches of man and nature.



I dedicate this book,

Not only as a token of personal esteem and friendship

But also

To express my deep admiration


His genius and his works.


My readers will naturally ask why I have delayed writing this

book for six years after my return; and I feel bound to give them

full satisfaction on this point.

When I reached England in the spring of 1862, I found myself

surrounded by a room full of packing cases containing the

collections that I had, from time to time, sent home for my

private use. These comprised nearly three thousand birdskins of

about one thousand species, at least twenty thousand beetles and

butterflies of about seven thousand species, and some quadrupeds

and land shells besides. A large proportion of these I had not

seen for years, and in my then weakened state of health, the

unpacking, sorting, and arranging of such a mass of specimens

occupied a long time.

I very soon decided that until I had done something towards

naming and describing the most important groups in my collection,

and had worked out some of the more interesting problems of

variation and geographical distribution (of which I had had

glimpses while collecting them), I would not attempt to publish

my travels. Indeed, I could have printed my notes and journals at

once, leaving all reference to questions of natural history for a

future work; but, I felt that this would be as unsatisfactory to

myself as it would be disappointing to my friends, and

uninstructive to the public.

Since my return, up to this date, I have published eighteen

papers in the "Transactions" or "Proceedings of the Linnean

Zoological and Entomological Societies", describing or

cataloguing portions of my collections, along with twelve others

in various scientific periodicals on more general subjects

connected with them.

Nearly two thousand of my Coleoptera, and many hundreds of my

butterflies, have been already described by various eminent

naturalists, British and foreign; but a much larger number

remains undescribed. Among those to whom science is most indebted

for this laborious work, I must name Mr. F. P. Pascoe, late

President of the Entomological Society of London, who had almost

completed the classification and description of my large

collection of Longicorn beetles (now in his possession),

comprising more than a thousand species, of which at least nine

hundred were previously undescribed and new to European cabinets.

The remaining orders of insects, comprising probably more than

two thousand species, are in the collection of Mr. William Wilson

Saunders, who has caused the larger portion of them to be

described by good entomologists. The Hymenoptera alone amounted

to more than nine hundred species, among which were two hundred

and eighty different kinds of ants, of which two hundred were


The six years' delay in publishing my travels thus enables me to

give what I hope may be an interesting and instructive sketch of

the main results yet arrived at by the study of my collections;

and as the countries I have to describe are not much visited or

written about, and their social and physical conditions are not

liable to rapid change, I believe and hope that my readers will

gain much more than they will lose by not having read my book six

years ago, and by this time perhaps forgotten all about it.

I must now say a few words on the plan of my work.

My journeys to the various islands were regulated by the seasons

and the means of conveyance. I visited some islands two or three

times at distant intervals, and in some cases had to make the

same voyage four times over. A chronological arrangement would

have puzzled my readers. They would never have known where they

were, and my frequent references to the groups of islands,

classed in accordance with the peculiarities of their animal

productions and of their human inhabitants, would have been

hardly intelligible. I have adopted, therefore, a geographical,

zoological, and ethnological arrangement, passing from island to

island in what seems the most natural succession, while I

transgress the order in which I myself visited them, as little as


I divide the Archipelago into five groups of islands, as follows:

I. THE INDO-MALAY ISLANDS: comprising the Malay Peninsula and

Singapore, Borneo, Java, and Sumatra.

II. THE TIMOR GROUP: comprising the islands of Timor, Flores,

Sumbawa, and Lombock, with several smaller ones.

III. CELEBES: comprising also the Sula Islands and Bouton.

IV. THE MOLUCCAN GROUP: comprising Bouru, Ceram, Batchian,

Gilolo, and Morty; with the smaller islands of Ternate, Tidore,

Makian, Kaiˇa, Amboyna, Banda, Goram, and Matabello.

V. THE PAPUAN GROUP: comprising the great island of New Guinea,

with the Aru Islands, Mysol, Salwatty, Waigiou, and several

others. The Ke Islands are described with this group on account

of their ethnology, though zoologically and geographically they

belong to the Moluccas.

The chapters relating to the separate islands of each of these

groups are followed by one on the Natural History of that group;

and the work may thus be divided into five parts, each treating

one of the natural divisions of the Archipelago.

The first chapter is an introductory one, on the Physical

Geography of the whole region; and the last is a general sketch

of the paces of man in the Archipelago and the surrounding

countries. With this explanation, and a reference to the maps

which illustrate the work, I trust that my readers will always

know where they are, and in what direction they are going.

I am well aware that my book is far too small for the extent of

the subjects it touches upon. It is a mere sketch; but so far as

it goes, I have endeavoured to make it an accurate one. Almost

the whole of the narrative and descriptive portions were written

on the spot, and have had little more than verbal alterations.

The chapters on Natural History, as well as many passages in

other parts of the work, have been written in the hope of

exciting an interest in the various questions connected with the

origin of species and their geographical distribution. In some

cases I have been able to explain my views in detail; while in

others, owing to the greater complexity of the subject, I have

thought it better to confine myself to a statement of the more

interesting facts of the problem, whose solution is to be found

in the principles developed by Mr. Darwin in his various works.

The numerous illustrations will, it is believed, add much to the

interest and value of the book. They have been made from my own

sketches, from photographs, or from specimens--and such, only 

subjects that would really illustrate the narrative or the

descriptions, have been chosen.

I have to thank Messrs. Walter and Henry Woodbury, whose

acquaintance I had the pleasure of making in Java, for a number

of photographs of  scenery and of natives, which have been of the

greatest assistance to me. Mr. William Wilson Saunders has kindly

allowed me to figure the curious horned flies; and to Mr. Pascoe

I am indebted for a loan of two of the very rare Longicorns which

appear in the plate of Bornean beetles. All the other specimens

figured are in my own collection.

As the main object of all my journeys was to obtain specimens of

natural history, both for my private collection and to supply

duplicates to museums and amateurs, I will give a general

statement of the number of specimens I collected, and which

reached home in good condition. I must premise that I generally

employed one or two, and sometimes three Malay servants to assist

me; and for nearly half the time had the services of an English

lad, Charles Allen. I was just eight years away from England, but

as I travelled about fourteen thousand miles within the

Archipelago, and made sixty or seventy separate journeys, each

involving some preparation and loss of time, I do not think that

more than six years were really occupied in collecting.

I find that my Eastern collections amounted to:

310 specimens of Mammalia.

100 specimens of Reptiles.

8,050 specimens of Birds.

7,500 specimens of Shells.

13,100 specimens of Lepidoptera.

83,200 specimens of Coleoptera.

13,400 specimens of other Insects.

125,660 specimens of natural history in all.

It now only remains for me to thank all those friends to whom I

am indebted for assistance or information. My thanks are more

especially due to the Council of the Royal Geographical Society,

through whose valuable recommendations I obtained important aid

from our own Government and from that of Holland; and to Mr.

William Wilson Saunders, whose kind and liberal encouragement in

the early portion of my journey was of great service to me. I am

also greatly indebted to Mr. Samuel Stevens (who acted as my

agent), both for the care he took of my collections, and for the

untiring assiduity with which he kept me supplied, both with

useful information and with whatever necessaries I required.

I trust that these, and all other friends who have been in any

way interested in my travels and collections, may derive from the

perusal of my book, some faint reflexion of the pleasures I

myself enjoyed amid the scenes and objects it describes.




From a look at a globe or a map of the Eastern hemisphere, we

shall perceive between Asia and Australia a number of large and

small islands forming a connected group distinct from those great

masses of land, and having little connection with either of them.

Situated upon the Equator, and bathed by the tepid water of the

great tropical oceans, this region enjoys a climate more

uniformly hot and moist than almost any other part of the globe,

and teems with natural productions which are elsewhere unknown.

The richest of fruits and the most precious of spices are

Indigenous here. It produces the giant flowers of the Rafflesia,

the great green-winged Ornithoptera (princes among the butterfly

tribes), the man-like Orangutan, and the gorgeous Birds of

Paradise. It is inhabited by a peculiar and interesting race of

mankind--the Malay, found nowhere beyond the limits of this

insular tract, which has hence been named the Malay Archipelago.

To the ordinary Englishman this is perhaps the least known part

of the globe. Our possessions in it are few and scanty; scarcely

any of our travellers go to explore it; and in many collections

of maps it is almost ignored, being divided between Asia and the

Pacific Islands. It thus happens that few persons realize that,

as a whole, it is comparable with the primary divisions of the

globe, and that some of its separate islands are larger than

France or the Austrian Empire. The traveller, however, soon

acquires different ideas. He sails for days or even weeks along

the shores of one of these great islands, often so great that its

inhabitants believe it to be a vast continent. He finds that

voyages among these islands are commonly reckoned by weeks and

months, and that their several inhabitants are often as little

known to each other as are the native races of the northern to

those of the southern continent of America. He soon comes to look

upon this region as one apart from the rest of the world, with

its own races of men and its own aspects of nature; with its own

ideas, feelings, customs, and modes of speech, and with a

climate, vegetation, and animated life altogether peculiar to


From many points of view these islands form one compact

geographical whole, and as such they have always been treated by

travellers and men of science; but, a more careful and detailed

study of them under various aspects reveals the unexpected fact

that they are divisible into two portions nearly equal in extent

which differ widely in their natural products, and really form

two parts of the primary divisions of the earth. I have been able

to prove this in considerable detail by my observations on the

natural history of the various parts of the Archipelago; and, as

in the description of my travels and residence in the several

islands I shall have to refer continually to this view, and

adduce facts in support of it, I have thought it advisable to

commence with a general sketch of the main features of the

Malayan region as will render the facts hereafter brought forward

more interesting, and their bearing upon the general question

more easily understood. I proceed, therefore, to sketch the

limits and extent of the Archipelago, and to point out the more

striking features of its geology, physical geography, vegetation,

and animal life.

Definition and Boundaries.--For reasons which depend mainly on

the distribution of animal life, I consider the Malay Archipelago

to include the Malay Peninsula as far as Tenasserim and the

Nicobar Islands on the west, the Philippines on the north, and

the Solomon Islands, beyond New Guinea, on the east. All the

great islands included within these limits are connected together

by innumerable smaller ones, so that no one of them seems to be

distinctly separated from the rest. With but few exceptions all

enjoy an uniform and very similar climate, and are covered with a

luxuriant forest vegetation. Whether we study their form and

distribution on maps, or actually travel from island to island,

our first impression will be that they form a connected whole,

all the parts of which are intimately related to each other.

Extent of the Archipelago and Islands.--The Malay Archipelago

extends for more than 4,000 miles in length from east to west,

and is about 1,300 in breadth from north to south. It would

stretch over an expanse equal to that of all Europe from the

extreme west far into Central Asia, or would cover the widest

parts of South America, and extend far beyond the land into the

Pacific and Atlantic oceans. It includes three islands larger

than Great Britain; and in one of them, Borneo, the whole of the

British Isles might be set down, and would be surrounded by a sea

of forests. New Guinea, though less compact in shape, is probably

larger than Borneo. Sumatra is about equal in extent to Great

Britain; Java, Luzon, and Celebes are each about the size of

Ireland. Eighteen more islands are, on the average, as large as

Jamaica; more than a hundred are as large as the Isle of Wight;

while the isles and islets of smaller size are innumerable.

The absolute extent of land in the Archipelago is not greater

than that contained by Western Europe from Hungary to Spain; but,

owing to the manner in which the land is broken up and divided,

the variety of its productions is rather in proportion to the

immense surface over which the islands are spread, than to the

quantity of land which they contain.

Geological Contrasts.--One of the chief volcanic belts upon the

globe passes through the Archipelago, and produces a striking

contrast in the scenery of the volcanic and non-volcanic islands.

A curving line, marked out by scores of active, and hundreds of

extinct, volcanoes may be traced through the whole length of

Sumatra and Java, and thence by the islands of Bali, Lombock,

Sumbawa, Flores, the Serwatty Islands, Banda, Amboyna, Batchian,

Makian, Tidore, Ternate, and Gilolo, to Morty Island. Here there

is a slight but well-marked break, or shift, of about 200 miles

to the westward, where the volcanic belt begins again in North

Celebes, and passes by Sian and Sanguir to the Philippine Islands

along the eastern side of which it continues, in a curving line,

to their northern extremity. From the extreme eastern bend of

this belt at Banda, we pass onwards for 1,000 miles over a non-

volcanic district to the volcanoes observed by Dampier, in 1699,

on the north-eastern coast of New Guinea, and can there trace

another volcanic belt through New Britain, New Ireland, and the

Solomon Islands, to the eastern limits of the Archipelago.

In the whole region occupied by this vast line of volcanoes, and

for a considerable breadth on each side of it, earthquakes are of

continual recurrence, slight shocks being felt at intervals of

every few weeks or months, while more severe ones, shaking down

whole villages, and doing more or less injury to life and

property, are sure to happen, in one part or another of this

district, almost every year. On many of the islands the years of

the great earthquakes form the chronological epochs of the native

inhabitants, by the aid of which the ages of their children are

remembered, and the dates of many important events are


I can only briefly allude to the many fearful eruptions that have

taken place in this region. In the amount of injury to life and

property, and in the magnitude of their effects, they have not

been surpassed by any upon record. Forty villages were destroyed

by the eruption of Papandayang in Java, in 1772, when the whole

mountain was blown up by repeated explosions, and a large lake

left in its place. By the great eruption of Tomboro in Sumbawa,

in 1815, 12,000 people were destroyed, and the ashes darkened the

air and fell thickly upon the earth and sea for 300 miles around.

Even quite recently, since I left the country, a mountain which

had been quiescent for more than 200 years suddenly burst into

activity. The island of Makian, one of the Moluccas, was rent

open in 1646 by a violent eruption which left a huge chasm on one

side, extending into the heart of the mountain. It was, when I

last visited it in 1860, clothed with vegetation to the summit,

and contained twelve populous Malay villages. On the 29th of

December, 1862, after 215 years of perfect inaction, it again

suddenly burst forth, blowing up and completely altering the

appearance of the mountain, destroying the greater part of the

inhabitants, and sending forth such volumes of ashes as to darken

the air at Ternate, forty miles off, and to almost entirely

destroy the growing crops on that and the surrounding islands.

The island of Java contains more volcanoes, active and extinct,

than any other known district of equal extent. They are about

forty-five in number, and many of them exhibit most beautiful

examples of the volcanic cone on a large scale, single or double,

with entire or truncated summits, and averaging 10,000 feet high.

It is now well ascertained that almost all volcanoes have been

slowly built up by the accumulation of matter--mud, ashes, and

lava--ejected by themselves. The openings or craters, however,

frequently shift their position, so that a country may be covered

with a more or less irregular series of hills in chains and

masses, only here and there rising into lofty cones, and yet the

whole may be produced by true volcanic action. In this manner the

greater part of Java has been formed. There has been some

elevation, especially on the south coast, where extensive cliffs

of coral limestone are found; and there may be a substratum of

older stratified rocks; but still essentially Java is volcanic,

and that noble and fertile island--the very garden of the East,

and perhaps upon the whole the richest, the best cultivated, and

the best governed tropical island in the world--owes its very

existence to the same intense volcanic activity which still

occasionally devastates its surface.

The great island of Sumatra exhibits, in proportion to its

extent, a much smaller number of volcanoes, and a considerable

portion of it has probably a non-volcanic origin.

To the eastward, the long string of islands from Java, passing by

the north of Timor and away to Panda, are probably all due to

volcanic action. Timor itself consists of ancient stratified

rocks, but is said to have one volcano near its centre.

Going northward, Amboyna, a part of Bouru, and the west end of

Ceram, the north part of Gilolo, and all the small islands around

it, the northern extremity of Celebes, and the islands of Sian

and Sang-air, are wholly volcanic. The Philippine Archipelago

contains many active and extinct volcanoes, and has probably been

reduced to its present fragmentary condition by subsidences

attending on volcanic action.

All along this great line of volcanoes are to be found more or

less palpable signs of upheaval and depression of land. The range

of islands south of Sumatra, a part of the south coast of Java

and of the islands east of it, the west and east end of Timor,

portions of all the Moluccas, the Ke and Aru Islands, Waigiou,

and the whole south and east of Gilolo, consist in a great

measure of upraised coral-rock, exactly corresponding to that now

forming in the adjacent seas. In many places I have observed the

unaltered surfaces of the elevated reefs, with great masses of

coral standing up in their natural position, and hundreds of

shells so fresh-looking that it was hard to believe that they had

been more than a few years out of the water; and, in fact, it is

very probable that such changes have occurred within a few


The united lengths of these volcanic belts is about ninety

degrees, or one-fourth of the entire circumference of the globe.

Their width is about fifty miles; but, for a space of two hundred

miles on each side of them, evidences of subterranean action are

to be found in recently elevated coral-rock, or in barrier coral-

reefs, indicating recent submergence. In the very centre or focus

of the great curve of volcanoes is placed the large island of

Borneo, in which no sign of recent volcanic action has yet been

observed, and where earthquakes, so characteristic of the

surrounding regions, are entirely unknown. The equally large

island of New Guinea occupies another quiescent area, on which no

sign of volcanic action has yet been discovered. With the

exception of the eastern end of its northern peninsula, the large

and curiously-shaped island of Celebes is also entirely free from

volcanoes; and there is some reason to believe that the volcanic

portion has once formed a separate island. The Malay Peninsula is

also non-volcanic.

The first and most obvious division of the Archipelago would

therefore be into quiescent and volcanic regions, and it might,

perhaps, be expected that such a division would correspond to

some differences in the character of the vegetation and the forms

of life. This is the case, however, to a very limited extent; and

we shall presently see that, although this development of

subterranean fires is on so vast a scale--has piled up chains of

mountains ten or twelve thousand feet high--has broken up

continents and raised up islands from the ocean--yet it has all

the character of a recent action which has not yet succeeded in

obliterating the traces of a more ancient distribution of land

and water.

Contrasts of Vegetation.--Placed immediately upon the Equator and

surrounded by extensive oceans, it is not surprising that the

various islands of the Archipelago should be almost always

clothed with a forest vegetation from the level of the sea to the

summits of the loftiest mountains. This is the general rule.

Sumatra, New Guinea, Borneo, the Philippines and the Moluccas,

and the uncultivated parts of Java and Celebes, are all forest

countries, except a few small and unimportant tracts, due

perhaps, in some cases, to ancient cultivation or accidental

fires. To this, however, there is one important exception in the

island of Timor and all the smaller islands around it, in which

there is absolutely no forest such as exists in the other

islands, and this character extends in a lesser degree to Flores,

Sumbawa, Lombock, and Bali.

In Timor the most common trees are Eucalypti of several species,

also characteristic of Australia, with sandalwood, acacia, and

other sorts in less abundance. These are scattered over the

country more or less thickly, but, never so as to deserve the

name of a forest. Coarse and scanty grasses grow beneath them on

the more barren hills, and a luxuriant herbage in the moister

localities. In the islands between Timor and Java there is often

a more thickly wooded country abounding in thorny and prickly

trees. These seldom reach any great height, and during the force

of the dry season they almost completely lose their leaves,

allowing the ground beneath them to be parched up, and

contrasting strongly with the damp, gloomy, ever-verdant forests

of the other islands. This peculiar character, which extends in a

less degree to the southern peninsula of Celebes and the east end

of Java, is most probably owing to the proximity of Australia.

The south-east monsoon, which lasts for about two-thirds of the

year (from March to November), blowing over the northern parts of

that country, produces a degree of heat and dryness which

assimilates the vegetation and physical aspect of the adjacent

islands to its own. A little further eastward in Timor and the Ke

Islands, a moister climate prevails; the southeast winds blowing

from the Pacific through Torres Straits and over the damp forests

of New Guinea, and as a consequence, every rocky islet is clothed

with verdure to its very summit. Further west again, as the same

dry winds blow over a wider and wider extent of ocean, they have

time to absorb fresh moisture, and we accordingly find the island

of Java possessing a less and less arid climate, until in the

extreme west near Batavia, rain occurs more or less all the year

round, and the mountains are everywhere clothed with forests of

unexampled luxuriance.

Contrasts in Depth of Sea.--It was first pointed out by Mr.

George Windsor Earl, in a paper read before the Royal

Geographical Society in 1845, and subsequently in a pamphlet "On

the Physical Geography of South-Eastern Asia and Australia",

dated 1855, that a shallow sea connected the great islands of

Sumatra, Java, and Borneo with the Asiatic continent, with which

their natural productions generally agreed; while a similar

shallow sea connected New Guinea and some of the adjacent islands

to Australia, all being characterised by the presence of


We have here a clue to the most radical contrast in the

Archipelago, and by following it out in detail I have arrived at

the conclusion that we can draw a line among the islands, which

shall so divide them that one-half shall truly belong to Asia,

while the other shall no less certainly be allied to Australia. I

term these respectively the Indo-Malayan and the Austro-Malayan

divisions of the Archipelago.

On referring to pages 12, 13, and 36 of Mr. Earl's pamphlet, it

will be seen that he maintains the former connection of Asia and

Australia as an important part of his view; whereas, I dwell

mainly on their long continued separation. Notwithstanding this

and other important differences between us, to him undoubtedly

belongs the merit of first indicating the division of the

Archipelago into an Australian and an Asiatic region, which it

has been my good fortune to establish by more detailed


Contrasts in Natural Productions.--To understand the importance

of this class of facts, and its bearing upon the former

distribution of land and sea, it is necessary to consider the

results arrived at by geologists and naturalists in other parts

of the world.

It is now generally admitted that the present distribution of

living things on the surface of the earth is mainly the result of

the last series of changes that it has undergone. Geology teaches

us that the surface of the land, and the distribution of land and

water, is everywhere slowly changing. It further teaches us that

the forms of life which inhabit that surface have, during every

period of which we possess any record, been also slowly changing.

It is not now necessary to say anything about how either of those

changes took place; as to that, opinions may differ; but as to

the fact that the changes themselves have occurred, from the

earliest geological ages down to the present day, and are still

going on, there is no difference of opinion. Every successive

stratum of sedimentary rock, sand, or gravel, is a proof that

changes of level have taken place; and the different species of

animals and plants, whose remains are found in these deposits,

prove that corresponding changes did occur in the organic world.

Taking, therefore, these two series of changes for granted, most

of the present peculiarities and anomalies in the distribution of

species may be directly traced to them. In our own islands, with

a very few trifling exceptions, every quadruped, bird, reptile,

insect, and plant, is found also on the adjacent continent. In

the small islands of Sardinia and Corsica, there are some

quadrupeds and insects, and many plants, quite peculiar. In

Ceylon, more closely connected to India than Britain is to

Europe, many animals and plants are different from those found in

India, and peculiar to the island. In the Galapagos Islands,

almost every indigenous living thing is peculiar to them, though

closely resembling other kinds found in the nearest parts of the

American continent.

Most naturalists now admit that these facts can only be explained

by the greater or less lapse of time since the islands were

upraised from beneath the ocean, or were separated from the

nearest land; and this will be generally (though not always)

indicated by the depth of the intervening sea. The enormous

thickness of many marine deposits through wide areas shows that

subsidence has often continued (with intermitting periods of

repose) during epochs of immense duration. The depth of sea

produced by such subsidence will therefore generally be a measure

of time; and in like manner, the change which organic forms have

undergone is a measure of time. When we make proper allowance for

the continued introduction of new animals and plants from

surrounding countries by those natural means of dispersal which

have been so well explained by Sir Charles Lyell and Mr. Darwin,

it is remarkable how closely these two measures correspond.

Britain is separated from the continent by a very shallow sea,

and only in a very few cases have our animals or plants begun to

show a difference from the corresponding continental species.

Corsica and Sardinia, divided from Italy by a much deeper sea,

present a much greater difference in their organic forms. Cuba,

separated from Yucatan by a wider and deeper strait, differs more

markedly, so that most of its productions are of distinct and

peculiar species; while Madagascar, divided from Africa by a deep

channel three hundred miles wide, possesses so many peculiar

features as to indicate separation at a very remote antiquity, or

even to render it doubtful whether the two countries have ever

been absolutely united.

Returning now to the Malay Archipelago, we find that all the wide

expanse of sea which divides Java, Sumatra, and Borneo from each

other, and from Malacca and Siam, is so shallow that ships can

anchor in any part of it, since it rarely exceeds forty fathoms

in depth; and if we go as far as the line of a hundred fathoms,

we shall include the Philippine Islands and Bali, east of Java.

If, therefore, these islands have been separated from each other

and the continent by subsidence of the intervening tracts of

land, we should conclude that the separation has been

comparatively recent, since the depth to which the land has

subsided is so small. It is also to be remarked that the great

chain of active volcanoes in Sumatra and Java furnishes us with a

sufficient cause for such subsidence, since the enormous masses

of matter they have thrown out would take away the foundations of

the surrounding district; and this may be the true explanation of

the often-noticed fact that volcanoes and volcanic chains are

always near the sea. The subsidence they produce around them

will, in time, make a sea, if one does not already exist.

But, it is when we examine the zoology of these countries that we

find what we most require--evidence of a very striking character

that these great islands must have once formed a part of the

continent, and could only have been separated at a very recent

geological epoch. The elephant and tapir of Sumatra and Borneo,

the rhinoceros of Sumatra and the allied species of Java, the

wild cattle of Borneo and the kind long supposed to be peculiar

to Java, are now all known to inhabit some part or other of

Southern Asia. None of these large animals could possibly have

passed over the arms of the sea which now separate these

countries, and their presence plainly indicates that a land

communication must have existed since the origin of the species.

Among the smaller mammals, a considerable portion are common to

each island and the continent; but the vast physical changes that

must have occurred during the breaking up and subsidence of such

extensive regions have led to the extinction of some in one or

more of the islands, and in some cases there seems also to have

been time for a change of species to have taken place. Birds and

insects illustrate the same view, for every family and almost

every genus of these groups found in any of the islands occurs

also on the Asiatic continent, and in a great number of cases the

species are exactly identical. Birds offer us one of the best

means of determining the law of distribution; for though at first

sight it would appear that the watery boundaries which keep out

the land quadrupeds could be easily passed over by birds, yet

practically it is not so; for if we leave out the aquatic tribes

which are preeminently wanderers, it is found that the others

(and especially the Passeres, or true perching-birds, which form

the vast majority) are generally as strictly limited by straits

and arms of the sea as are quadrupeds themselves. As an instance,

among the islands of which I am now speaking, it is a remarkable

fact that Java possesses numerous birds which never pass over to

Sumatra, though they are separated by a strait only fifteen miles

wide, and with islands in mid-channel. Java, in fact, possesses

more birds and insects peculiar to itself than either Sumatra or

Borneo, and this would indicate that it was earliest separated

from the continent; next in organic individuality is Borneo,

while Sumatra is so nearly identical in all its animal forms with

the peninsula of Malacca, that we may safely conclude it to have

been the most recently dismembered island.

The general result therefore, at which we arrive, is that the

great islands of Java, Sumatra, and Borneo resemble in their

natural productions the adjacent parts of the continent, almost

as much as such widely-separated districts could be expected to

do even if they still formed a part of Asia; and this close

resemblance, joined with the fact of the wide extent of sea which

separates them being so uniformly and remarkably shallow, and

lastly, the existence of the extensive range of volcanoes in

Sumatra and Java, which have poured out vast quantities of

subterranean matter and have built up extensive plateaux and

lofty mountain ranges, thus furnishing a vera causa for a

parallel line of subsidence--all lead irresistibly to the

conclusion that at a very recent geological epoch, the continent

of Asia extended far beyond its present limits in a south-

easterly direction, including the islands of Java, Sumatra, and

Borneo, and probably reaching as far as the present 100-fathom

line of soundings.

The Philippine Islands agree in many respects with Asia and the

other islands, but present some anomalies, which seem to indicate

that they were separated at an earlier period, and have since

been subject to many revolutions in their physical geography.

Turning our attention now to the remaining portion of the

Archipelago, we shall find that all the islands from Celebes and

Lombock eastward exhibit almost as close a resemblance to

Australia and New Guinea as the Western Islands do to Asia. It is

well known that the natural productions of Australia differ from

those of Asia more than those of any of the four ancient quarters

of the world differ from each other. Australia, in fact, stands

alone: it possesses no apes or monkeys, no cats or tigers,

wolves, bears, or hyenas; no deer or antelopes, sheep or oxen; no

elephant, horse, squirrel, or rabbit; none, in short, of those

familiar types of quadruped which are met with in every other

part of the world. Instead of these, it has Marsupials only:

kangaroos and opossums; wombats and the duckbilled Platypus. In

birds it is almost as peculiar. It has no woodpeckers and no

pheasants--families which exist in every other part of the

world; but instead of them it has the mound-making brush-turkeys,

the honeysuckers, the cockatoos, and the brush-tongued lories,

which are found nowhere else upon the globe. All these striking

peculiarities are found also in those islands which form the

Austro-Malayan division of the Archipelago.

The great contrast between the two divisions of the Archipelago

is nowhere so abruptly exhibited as on passing from the island of

Bali to that of Lombock, where the two regions are in closest

proximity. In Bali we have barbets, fruit-thrushes, and

woodpeckers; on passing over to Lombock these are seen no more,

but we have abundance of cockatoos, honeysuckers, and brush-

turkeys, which are equally unknown in Bali, or any island further

west. [I was informed, however, that there were a few cockatoos

at one spot on the west of Bali, showing that the intermingling

of the productions of these islands is now going on.] The strait

is here fifteen miles wide, so that we may pass in two hours from

one great division of the earth to another, differing as

essentially in their animal life as Europe does from America. If

we travel from Java or Borneo to Celebes or the Moluccas, the

difference is still more striking. In the first, the forests

abound in monkeys of many kinds, wild cats, deer, civets, and

otters, and numerous varieties of squirrels are constantly met

with. In the latter none of these occur; but the prehensile-

tailed Cuscus is almost the only terrestrial mammal seen, except

wild pigs, which are found in all the islands, and deer (which

have probably been recently introduced) in Celebes and the

Moluccas. The birds which are most abundant in the Western

Islands are woodpeckers, barbets, trogons, fruit-thrushes, and

leaf-thrushes; they are seen daily, and form the great

ornithological features of the country. In the Eastern Islands

these are absolutely unknown, honeysuckers and small lories being

the most common birds, so that the naturalist feels himself in a

new world, and can hardly realize that he has passed from the one

region to the other in a few days, without ever being out of

sight of land.

The inference that we must draw from these facts is, undoubtedly,

that the whole of the islands eastwards beyond Java and Borneo do

essentially form a part of a former Australian or Pacific

continent, although some of them may never have been actually

joined to it. This continent must have been broken up not only

before the Western Islands were separated from Asia, but probably

before the extreme southeastern portion of Asia was raised above

the waters of the ocean; for a great part of the land of Borneo

and Java is known to be geologically of quite recent formation,

while the very great difference of species, and in many cases of

genera also, between the productions of the Eastern Malay Islands

and Australia, as well as the great depth of the sea now

separating them, all point to a comparatively long period of


It is interesting to observe among the islands themselves how a

shallow sea always intimates a recent land connexion. The Aru

Islands, Mysol, and Waigiou, as well as Jobie, agree with New

Guinea in their species of mammalia and birds much more closely

than they do with the Moluccas, and we find that they are all

united to New Guinea by a shallow sea. In fact, the 100-fathom

line round New Guinea marks out accurately the range of the true

Paradise birds.

It is further to be noted--and this is a very interesting point

in connection with theories of the dependence of special forms of

life on external conditions--that this division of the

Archipelago into two regions characterised by a striking

diversity in their natural productions does not in any way

correspond to the main physical or climatal divisions of the

surface. The great volcanic chain runs through both parts, and

appears to produce no effect in assimilating their productions.

Borneo closely resembles New Guinea not only in its vast size and

its freedom from volcanoes, but in its variety of geological

structure, its uniformity of climate, and the general aspect of

the forest vegetation that clothes its surface. The Moluccas are

the counterpart of the Philippines in their volcanic structure,

their extreme fertility, their luxuriant forests, and their

frequent earthquakes; and Bali with the east end of Java has a

climate almost as dry and a soil almost as arid as that of Timor.

Yet between these corresponding groups of islands, constructed as

it were after the same pattern, subjected to the same climate,

and bathed by the same oceans, there exists the greatest possible

contrast when we compare their animal productions. Nowhere does

the ancient doctrine--that differences or similarities in the

various forms of life that inhabit different countries are due to

corresponding physical differences or similarities in the

countries themselves--meet with so direct and palpable a

contradiction. Borneo and New Guinea, as alike physically as two

distinct countries can be, are zoologically wide as the poles

asunder; while Australia, with its dry winds, its open plains,

its stony deserts, and its temperate climate, yet produces birds

and quadrupeds which are closely related to those inhabiting the

hot damp luxuriant forests, which everywhere clothe the plains

and mountains of New Guinea.

In order to illustrate more clearly the means by which I suppose

this great contrast has been brought about, let us consider what

would occur if two strongly contrasted divisions of the earth

were, by natural means, brought into proximity. No two parts of

the world differ so radically in their productions as Asia and

Australia, but the difference between Africa and South America is

also very great, and these two regions will well serve to

illustrate the question we are considering. On the one side we

have baboons, lions, elephants, buffaloes, and giraffes; on the

other spider-monkeys, pumas, tapirs, anteaters, and sloths; while

among birds, the hornbills, turacos, orioles, and honeysuckers of

Africa contrast strongly with the toucans, macaws, chatterers,

and hummingbirds of America.

Now let us endeavour to imagine (what it is very probable may

occur in future ages) that a slow upheaval of the bed of the

Atlantic should take place, while at the same time earthquake-

shocks and volcanic action on the land should cause increased

volumes of sediment to be poured down by the rivers, so that the

two continents should gradually spread out by the addition of

newly-formed lands, and thus reduce the Atlantic which now

separates them, to an arm of the sea a few hundred miles wide. At

the same time we may suppose islands to be upheaved in mid-

channel; and, as the subterranean forces varied in intensity, and

shifted their points of greatest action, these islands would

sometimes become connected with the land on one side or other of

the strait, and at other times again be separated from it.

Several islands would at one time be joined together, at another

would be broken up again, until at last, after many long ages of

such intermittent action, we might have an irregular archipelago

of islands filling up the ocean channel of the Atlantic, in whose

appearance and arrangement we could discover nothing to tell us

which had been connected with Africa and which with America. The

animals and plants inhabiting these islands would, however,

certainly reveal this portion of their former history. On those

islands which had ever formed a part of the South American

continent, we should be sure to find such common birds as

chatterers and toucans and hummingbirds, and some of the peculiar

American quadrupeds; while on those which had been separated from

Africa, hornbills, orioles, and honeysuckers would as certainly

be found. Some portion of the upraised land might at different

times have had a temporary connection with both continents, and

would then contain a certain amount of mixture in its living

inhabitants. Such seems to have been the case with the islands of

Celebes and the Philippines. Other islands, again, though in such

close proximity as Bali and Lombock, might each exhibit an almost

unmixed sample of the productions of the continents of which they

had directly or indirectly once formed a part.

In the Malay Archipelago we have, I believe, a case exactly

parallel to that which I have here supposed. We have indications

of a vast continent, with a peculiar fauna and flora having been

gradually and irregularly broken up; the island of Celebes

probably marking its furthest westward extension, beyond which

was a wide ocean. At the same time Asia appears to have been

extending its limits in a southeast direction, first in an

unbroken mass, then separated into islands as we now see it, and

almost coming into actual contact with the scattered fragments of

the great southern land.

From this outline of the subject, it will be evident how

important an adjunct Natural History is to Geology; not only in

interpreting the fragments of extinct animals found in the

earth's crust, but in determining past changes in the surface

which have left no geological record. It is certainly a wonderful

and unexpected fact that an accurate knowledge of the

distribution of birds and insects should enable us to map out

lands and continents which disappeared beneath the ocean long

before the earliest traditions of the human race. Wherever the

geologist can explore the earth's surface, he can read much of

its past history, and can determine approximately its latest

movements above and below the sea-level; but wherever oceans and

seas now extend, he can do nothing but speculate on the very

limited data afforded by the depth of the waters. Here the

naturalist steps in, and enables him to fill up this great gap in

the past history of the earth.

One of the chief objects of my travels was to obtain evidence of

this nature; and my search after such evidence has been rewarded

by great success, so that I have been able to trace out with some

probability the past changes which one of the most interesting

parts of the earth has undergone. It may be thought that the

facts and generalizations here given would have been more

appropriately placed at the end rather than at the beginning of a

narrative of the travels which supplied the facts. In some cases

this might be so, but I have found it impossible to give such an

account as I desire of the natural history of the numerous

islands and groups of islands in the Archipelago, without

constant reference to these generalizations which add so much to

their interest. Having given this general sketch of the subject,

I shall be able to show how the same principles can be applied to

the individual islands of a group, as to the whole Archipelago;

and thereby make my account of the many new and curious animals

which inhabit them both, more interesting and more instructive

than if treated as mere isolated facts.

Contrasts of Races.--Before I had arrived at the conviction that

the eastern and western halves of the Archipelago belonged to

distinct primary regions of the earth, I had been led to group

the natives of the Archipelago under two radically distinct

races. In this I differed from most ethnologists who had before

written on the subject; for it had been the almost universal

custom to follow William von Humboldt and Pritchard, in classing

all the Oceanic races as modifications of one type. Observation

soon showed me, however, that Malays and Papuans differed

radically in every physical, mental, and moral character; and

more detailed research, continued for eight years, satisfied me

that under these two forms, as types, the whole of the peoples of

the Malay Archipelago and Polynesia could be classified. On

drawing the line which separates these races, it is found to come

near to that which divides the zoological regions, but somewhat

eastward of it; a circumstance which appears to me very

significant of the same causes having influenced the distribution

of mankind that have determined the range of other animal forms.

The reason why exactly the same line does not limit both is

sufficiently intelligible. Man has means of traversing the sea

which animals do not possess; and a superior race has power to

press out or assimilate an inferior one. The maritime enterprise

and higher civilization of the Malay races have enabled them to

overrun a portion of the adjacent region, in which they have

entirely supplanted the indigenous inhabitants if it ever

possessed any; and to spread much of their language, their

domestic animals, and their customs far over the Pacific, into

islands where they have but slightly, or not at all, modified the

physical or moral characteristics of the people.

I believe, therefore, that all the peoples of the various islands

can be grouped either with the Malays or the Papuans; and that

these two have no traceable affinity to each other. I believe,

further, that all the races east of the line I have drawn have

more affinity for each other than they have for any of the races

west of that line; that, in fact, the Asiatic races include the

Malays, and all have a continental origin, while the Pacific

races, including all to the east of the former (except perhaps

some in the Northern Pacific), are derived, not from any existing

continent, but from lands which now exist or have recently

existed in the Pacific Ocean. These preliminary observations will

enable the reader better to apprehend the importance I attach to

the details of physical form or moral character, which I shall

give in describing the inhabitants of many of the islands.




FROM 1854 TO 1862.)

FEW places are more interesting to a traveller from Europe than

the town and island of Singapore, furnishing, as it does,

examples of a variety of Eastern races, and of many different

religions and modes of life. The government, the garrison, and

the chief merchants are English; but the great mass of the

population is Chinese, including some of the wealthiest

merchants, the agriculturists of the interior, and most of the

mechanics and labourers. The native Malays are usually fishermen

and boatmen, and they form the main body of the police. The

Portuguese of Malacca supply a large number of the clerks and

smaller merchants. The Klings of Western India are a numerous

body of Mahometans, and, with many Arabs, are petty merchants and

shopkeepers. The grooms and washermen are all Bengalees, and

there is a small but highly respectable class of Parsee

merchants. Besides these, there are numbers of Javanese sailors

and domestic servants, as well as traders from Celebes, Bali, and

many other islands of the Archipelago. The harbour is crowded

with men-of-war and trading vessels of many European nations, and

hundreds of Malay praus and Chinese junks, from vessels of

several hundred tons burthen down to little fishing boats and

passenger sampans; and the town comprises handsome public

buildings and churches, Mahometan mosques, Hindu temples, Chinese

joss-houses, good European houses, massive warehouses, queer old

Kling and China bazaars, and long suburbs of Chinese and Malay


By far the most conspicuous of the various kinds of people in

Singapore, and those which most attract the stranger's attention,

are the Chinese, whose numbers and incessant activity give the

place very much the appearance of a town in China. The Chinese

merchant is generally a fat round-faced man with an important and

business-like look. He wears the same style of clothing (loose

white smock, and blue or black trousers) as the meanest coolie,

but of finer materials, and is always clean and neat; and his

long tail tipped with red silk hangs down to his heels. He has a

handsome warehouse or shop in town and a good house in the

country. He keeps a fine horse and gig, and every evening may be

seen taking a drive bareheaded to enjoy the cool breeze. He is

rich--he owns several retail shops and trading schooners, he

lends money at high interest and on good security, he makes hard

bargains, and gets fatter and richer every year.

In the Chinese bazaar are hundreds of small shops in which a

miscellaneous collection of hardware and dry goods are to be

found, and where many things are sold wonderfully cheap. You may

buy gimlets at a penny each, white cotton thread at four balls

for a halfpenny, and penknives, corkscrews, gunpowder, writing-

paper, and many other articles as cheap or cheaper than you can

purchase them in England. The shopkeeper is very good-natured; he

will show you everything he has, and does not seem to mind if you

buy nothing. He bates a little, but not so much as the Klings,

who almost always ask twice what they are willing to take. If you

buy a few things from him, he will speak to you afterwards every

time you pass his shop, asking you to walk in and sit down, or

take a cup of tea; and you wonder how he can get a living where

so many sell the same trifling articles.

The tailors sit at a table, not on one; and both they and the

shoemakers work well and cheaply. The barbers have plenty to do,

shaving heads and cleaning ears; for which latter operation they

have a great array of little tweezers, picks, and brushes. In the

outskirts of the town are scores of carpenters and blacksmiths.

The former seem chiefly to make coffins and highly painted and

decorated clothes-boxes. The latter are mostly gun-makers, and

bore the barrels of guns by hand out of solid bars of iron. At

this tedious operation they may be seen every day, and they

manage to finish off a gun with a flintlock very handsomely. All

about the streets are sellers of water, vegetables, fruit, soup,

and agar-agar (a jelly made of seaweed), who have many cries as

unintelligible as those of London. Others carry a portable

cooking-apparatus on a pole balanced by a table at the other end,

and serve up a meal of shellfish, rice, and vegetables for two or

three halfpence--while coolies and boatmen waiting to be hired

are everywhere to be met with.

In the interior of the island the Chinese cut down forest trees

in the jungle, and saw them up into planks; they cultivate

vegetables, which they bring to market; and they grow pepper and

gambir, which form important articles of export. The French

Jesuits have established missions among these inland Chinese,

which seem very successful. I lived for several weeks at a time

with the missionary at Bukit-tima, about the centre of the

island, where a pretty church has been built and there are about

300 converts. While there, I met a missionary who had just

arrived from Tonquin, where he had been living for many years.

The Jesuits still do their work thoroughly as of old. In Cochin

China, Tonquin, and China, where all Christian teachers are

obliged to live in secret, and are liable to persecution,

expulsion, and sometimes death, every province--even those

farthest in the interior--has a permanent Jesuit mission

establishment constantly kept up by fresh aspirants, who are

taught the languages of the countries they are going to at Penang

or Singapore. In China there are said to be near a million

converts; in Tonquin and Cochin China, more than half a million.

One secret of the success of these missions is the rigid economy

practised in the expenditure of the funds. A missionary is

allowed about ú30. a year, on which he lives in whatever country

he may be. This renders it possible to support a large number of

missionaries with very limited means; and the natives, seeing

their teachers living in poverty and with none of the luxuries of

life, are convinced that they are sincere in what they teach, and

have really given up home and friends and ease and safety, for

the good of others. No wonder they make converts, for it must be

a great blessing to the poor people among whom they labour to

have a man among them to whom they can go in any trouble or

distress, who will comfort and advise them, who visits them in

sickness, who relieves them in want, and who they see living from

day-to-day in danger of persecution and death--entirely for

their sakes.

My friend at Bukit-tima was truly a father to his flock. He

preached to them in Chinese every Sunday, and had evenings for

discussion and conversation on religion during the week. He had a

school to teach their children. His house was open to them day

and night. If a man came to him and said, "I have no rice for my

family to eat today," he would give him half of what he had in

the house, however little that might be. If another said, "I have

no money to pay my debt," he would give him half the contents of

his purse, were it his last dollar. So, when he was himself in

want, he would send to some of the wealthiest among his flock,

and say, "I have no rice in the house," or "I have given away my

money, and am in want of such and such articles." The result was

that his flock trusted and loved him, for they felt sure that he

was their true friend, and had no ulterior designs in living

among them.

The island of Singapore consists of a multitude of small hills,

three or four hundred feet high, the summits of many of which are

still covered with virgin forest. The mission-house at Bukit-tima

was surrounded by several of these wood-topped hills, which were

much frequented by woodcutters and sawyers, and offered me an

excellent collecting ground for insects. Here and there, too,

were tiger pits, carefully covered over with sticks and leaves,

and so well concealed, that in several cases I had a narrow

escape from falling into them. They are shaped like an iron

furnace, wider at the bottom than the top, and are perhaps

fifteen or twenty feet deep so that it would be almost impossible

for a person unassisted to get out of one. Formerly a sharp stake

was stuck erect in the bottom; but after an unfortunate traveller

had been killed by falling on one, its use was forbidden. There

are always a few tigers roaming about Singapore, and they kill on

an average a Chinaman every day, principally those who work in

the gambir plantations, which are always made in newly-cleared

jungle. We heard a tiger roar once or twice in the evening, and

it was rather nervous work hunting for insects among the fallen

trunks and old sawpits when one of these savage animals might be

lurking close by, awaiting an opportunity to spring upon us.

Several hours in the middle of every fine day were spent in these

patches of forest, which were delightfully cool and shady by

contrast with the bare open country we had to walk over to reach

them. The vegetation was most luxuriant, comprising enormous

forest trees, as well as a variety of ferns, caladiums, and other

undergrowth, and abundance of climbing rattan palms. Insects were

exceedingly abundant and very interesting, and every day

furnished scores of new and curious forms.

In about two months I obtained no less than 700 species of

beetles, a large proportion of which were quite new, and among

them were 130 distinct kinds of the elegant Longicorns

(Cerambycidae), so much esteemed by collectors. Almost all these

were collected in one patch of jungle, not more than a square

mile in extent, and in all my subsequent travels in the East I

rarely if ever met with so productive a spot. This exceeding

productiveness was due in part no doubt to some favourable

conditions in the soil, climate, and vegetation, and to the

season being very bright and sunny, with sufficient showers to

keep everything fresh. But it was also in a great measure

dependent, I feel sure, on the labours of the Chinese wood-

cutters. They had been at work here for several years, and during

all that time had furnished a continual supply of dry and dead

and decaying leaves and bark, together with abundance of wood and

sawdust, for the nourishment of insects and their larvae. This

had led to the assemblage of a great variety of species in a

limited space, and I was the first naturalist who had come to

reap the harvest they had prepared. In the same place, and during

my walks in other directions, I obtained a fair collection of

butterflies and of other orders of insects, so that on the whole

I was quite satisfied with these--my first attempts to gain a

knowledge of the Natural History of the Malay Archipelago.




BIRDS and most other kinds of animals being scarce at Singapore,

I left it in July for Malacca, where I spent more than two months

in the interior, and made an excursion to Mount Ophir. The old

and picturesque town of Malacca is crowded along the banks of the

small river, and consists of narrow streets of shops and dwelling

houses, occupied by the descendants of the Portuguese, and by

Chinamen. In the suburbs are the houses of the English officials

and of a few Portuguese merchants, embedded in groves of palms

and fruit-trees, whose varied and beautiful foliage furnishes a

pleasing relief to the eye, as well as most grateful shade.

The old fort, the large Government House, and the ruins of a

cathedral attest the former wealth and importance of this place,

which was once as much the centre of Eastern trade as Singapore

is now. The following description of it by Linschott, who wrote

two hundred and seventy years ago, strikingly exhibits the change

it has undergone:

"Malacca is inhabited by the Portuguese and by natives of the

country, called Malays. The Portuguese have here a fortress, as

at Mozambique, and there is no fortress in all the Indies, after

those of Mozambique and Ormuz, where the captains perform their

duty better than in this one. This place is the market of all

India, of China, of the Moluccas, and of other islands around

about--from all which places, as well as from Banda, Java,

Sumatra, Siam, Pegu, Bengal, Coromandel, and India--arrive ships

which come and go incessantly, charged with an infinity of

merchandises. There would be in this place a much greater number

of Portuguese if it were not for the inconvenience, and

unhealthiness of the air, which is hurtful not only to strangers,

but also to natives of the country. Thence it is that all who

live in the country pay tribute of their health, suffering from a

certain disease, which makes them lose either their skin or their

hair. And those who escape consider it a miracle, which occasions

many to leave the country, while the ardent desire of gain

induces others to risk their health, and endeavour to endure such

an atmosphere. The origin of this town, as the natives say, was

very small, only having at the beginning, by reason of the

unhealthiness of the air, but six or seven fishermen who

inhabited it. But the number was increased by the meeting of

fishermen from Siam, Pegu, and Bengal, who came and built a city,

and established a peculiar language, drawn from the most elegant

nodes of speaking of other nations, so that in fact the, language

of the Malays is at present the most refined, exact, and

celebrated of all the East. The name of Malacca was given to this

town, which, by the convenience of its situation, in a short time

grew to such wealth, that it does not yield to the most powerful

towns and regions around about. The natives, both men and women,

are very courteous and are reckoned the most skillful in the

world in compliments, and study much to compose and repeat verses

and love-songs. Their language is in vogue through the Indies, as

the French is here.

At present, a vessel over a hundred tons hardly ever enters its

port, and the trade is entirely confined to a few petty products

of the forests, and to the fruit, which the trees, planted by the

old Portuguese, now produce for the enjoyment of the inhabitants

of Singapore. Although rather subject to fevers, it is not at

present considered very unhealthy.

The population of Malacca consists of several races. The

ubiquitous Chinese are perhaps the most numerous, keeping up

their manners, customs, and language; the indigenous Malays are

next in point of numbers, and their language is the Lingua-franca

of the place. Next come the descendants of the Portuguese--a

mixed, degraded, and degenerate race, but who still keep up the

use of their mother tongue, though ruefully mutilated in grammar;

and then there are the English rulers, and the descendants of the

Dutch, who all speak English. The Portuguese spoken at Malacca is

a useful philological phenomenon. The verbs have mostly lost

their inflections, and one form does for all moods, tenses,

numbers, and persons. Eu vai, serves for "I go," "I went," or, "I

will go." Adjectives, too, have been deprived of their feminine

and plural terminations, so that the language is reduced to a

marvellous simplicity, and, with the admixture of a few Malay

words, becomes rather puzzling to one who has heard only the pure


In costume these several peoples are as varied as in their

speech. The English preserve the tight-fitting coat, waistcoat,

and trousers, and the abominable hat and cravat; the Portuguese

patronise a light jacket, or, more frequently, shirt and trousers

only; the Malays wear their national jacket and sarong (a kind of

kilt), with loose drawers; while the Chinese never depart in the

least from their national dress, which, indeed, it is impossible

to improve for a tropical climate, whether as regards comfort or

appearance. The loosely-hanging trousers, and neat white half-

shirt half jacket, are exactly what a dress should be in this low


I engaged two Portuguese to accompany me into the interior; one

as a cook, the other to shoot and skin birds, which is quite a

trade in Malacca. I first stayed a fortnight at a village called

Gading, where I was accommodated in the house of some Chinese

converts, to whom I was recommended by the Jesuit missionaries.

The house was a mere shed, but it was kept clean, and I made

myself sufficiently comfortable. My hosts were forming a pepper

and gambir plantation, and in the immediate neighbourhood were

extensive tin-washings, employing over a thousand Chinese. The

tin is obtained in the form of black grains from beds of

quartzose sand, and is melted into ingots in rude clay furnaces.

The soil seemed poor, and the forest was very dense with

undergrowth, and not at all productive of insects; but, on the

other hand, birds were abundant, and I was at once introduced to

the rich ornithological treasures of the Malayan region.

The very first time I fired my gun I brought down one of the most

curious and beautiful of the Malacca birds, the blue-billed gaper

(Cymbirhynchus macrorhynchus), called by the Malays the

"Rainbird." It is about the size of a starling, black and rich

claret colour with white shoulder stripes, and a very large and

broad bill of the most pure cobalt blue above and orange below,

while the iris is emerald green. As the skins dry the bill turns

dull black, but even then the bird is handsome. When fresh

killed, the contrast of the vivid blue with the rich colours of

the plumage is remarkably striking and beautiful. The lovely

Eastern trogons, with their rich-brown backs, beautifully

pencilled wings, and crimson breasts, were also soon obtained, as

well as the large green barbets (Megalaema versicolor)--fruit-

eating birds, something like small toucans, with a short,

straight bristly bill, and whose head and neck are variegated

with patches of the most vivid blue and crimson. A day or two

after, my hunter brought me a specimen of the green gaper

(Calyptomena viridis), which is like a small cock-of-the-rock,

but entirely of the most vivid green, delicately marked on the

wings with black bars. Handsome woodpeckers and gay kingfishers,

green and brown cuckoos with velvety red faces and green beaks,

red-breasted doves and metallic honeysuckers, were brought in day

after day, and kept me in a continual state of pleasurable

excitement. After a fortnight one of my servants was seized with

fever, and on returning to Malacca, the same disease, attacked

the other as well as myself. By a liberal use of quinine, I soon

recovered, and obtaining other men, went to stay at the

Government bungalow of Ayer-panas, accompanied by a young

gentleman, a native of the place, who had a taste for natural


At Ayer-panas we had a comfortable house to stay in, and plenty

of room to dry and preserve our specimens; but, owing to there

being no industrious Chinese to cut down timber, insects were

comparatively scarce, with the exception of butterflies, of which

I formed a very fine collection. The manner in which I obtained

one fine insect was curious, and indicates bow fragmentary and

imperfect a traveller's collection must necessarily be. I was one

afternoon walking along a favourite road through the forest, with

my gun, when I saw a butterfly on the ground. It was large,

handsome, and quite new to me, and I got close to it before it

flew away. I then observed that it had been settling on the dung

of some carnivorous animal. Thinking it might return to the same

spot, I next day after breakfast took my net, and as I approached

the place was delighted to see the same butterfly sitting on the

same piece of dung, and succeeded in capturing it. It was an

entirely new species of great beauty, and has been named by Mr.

Hewitson--Nymphalis calydona. I never saw another specimen of it,

and it was only after twelve years had elapsed that a second

individual reached this country from the northwestern part of


Having determined to visit Mount Ophir, which is situated in the

middle of the peninsula about fifty miles east of Malacca, we

engaged six Malays to accompany us and carry our baggage. As we

meant to stay at least a week at the mountain, we took with us a

good supply of rice, a little biscuit, butter and coffee, some

dried fish and a little brandy, with blankets, a change of

clothes, insect and bird boxes, nets, guns and ammunition. The

distance from Ayer-panas was supposed to be about thirty miles.

Our first day's march lay through patches of forest, clearings,

and Malay villages, and was pleasant enough. At night we slept at

the house of a Malay chief, who lent us a verandah, and gave us a

fowl and some eggs. The next day the country got wilder and more

dilly. We passed through extensive forests, along paths often up

to our knees in mud, and were much annoyed by the leeches for

which this district is famous. These little creatures infest the

leaves and herbage by the side of the paths, and when a passenger

comes along they stretch themselves out at full length, and if

they touch any part of his dress or body, quit their leaf and

adhere to it. They then creep on to his feet, legs, or other part

of his body and suck their fill, the first puncture being rarely

felt during the excitement of walking. On bathing in the evening

we generally found half a dozen or a dozen on each of us, most

frequently on our legs, but sometimes on our bodies, and I had

one who sucked his fill from the side of my neck, but who luckily

missed the jugular vein. There are many species of these forest

leeches. All are small, but some are beautifully marked with

stripes of bright yellow. They probably attach themselves to deer

or other animals which frequent the forest paths, and have thus

acquired the singular habit of stretching themselves out at the

sound of a footstep or of rustling foliage. Early in the

afternoon we reached the foot of the mountain, and encamped by

the side of a fine stream, whose rocky banks were overgrown with

ferns. Our oldest Malay had been accustomed to shoot birds in

this neighbourhood for the Malacca dealers, and had been to the

top of the mountain, and while we amused ourselves shooting and

insect hunting, he went with two others to clear the path for our

ascent the next day.

Early next morning we started after breakfast, carrying blankets

and provisions, as we intended to sleep upon the mountain. After

passing a little tangled jungle and swampy thickets through which

our men had cleared a path, we emerged into a fine lofty forest

pretty clear of undergrowth, and in which we could walk freely.

We ascended steadily up a moderate slope for several miles,

having a deep ravine on our left. We then had a level plateau or

shoulder to cross, after which the ascent was steeper and the

forest denser until we came out upon the "Padang-batu," or stone

field, a place of which we had heard much, but could never get

anyone to describe intelligibly. We found it to be a steep slope

of even rock, extending along the mountain side farther than we

could see. Parts of it were quite bare, but where it was cracked

and fissured there grew a most luxuriant vegetation, among which

the pitcher plants were the most remarkable. These wonderful

plants never seem to succeed well in our hot-houses, and are

there seen to little advantage. Here they grew up into half

climbing shrubs, their curious pitchers of various sizes and

forms hanging abundantly from their leaves, and continually

exciting our admiration by their size and beauty. A few

coniferae of the genus Dacrydium here first appeared, and in the

thickets just above the rocky surface we walked through groves of

those splendid ferns Dipteris Horsfieldii and Matonia pectinata,

which bear large spreading palmate fronds on slender stems six or

eight feet high. The Matonia is the tallest and most elegant, and

is known only from this mountain, and neither of them is yet

introduced into our hot-houses.

It was very striking to come out from the dark, cool, and shady

forest in which we had been ascending since we started, on to

this hot, open rocky slope where we seemed to have entered at one

step from a lowland to an alpine vegetation. The height, as

measured by a sympiesometer, was about 2,800 feet. We had been

told we should find water at Padang-batuas we were exceedingly thirsty;

but we looked about for it in vain. At last we turned to

the pitcher-plants, but the water contained in the pitchers

(about half a pint in each) was full of insects, and otherwise

uninviting. On tasting it, however, we found it very palatable

though rather warm, and we all quenched our thirst from these

natural jugs. Farther on we came to forest again, but of a more

dwarf and stunted character than below; and alternately passing

along ridges and descending into valleys, we reached a peak

separated from the true summit of the mountain by a considerable

chasm. Here our porters gave in, and declared they could carry

their loads no further; and certainly the ascent to the highest

peak was very precipitous. But on the spot where we were there

was no water, whereas it was well known that there was a spring

close to the summit, so we determined to go on without them, and

carry with us only what was absolutely necessary. We accordingly

took a blanket each, and divided our food and other articles

among us, and went on with only the old Malay and his son.

After descending into the saddle between the two peaks we found

the ascent very laborious, the slope being so steep, as often to

necessitate hand-climbing. Besides a bushy vegetation the ground

was covered knee-deep with mosses on a foundation of decaying

leaves and rugged rock, and it was a hard hour's climb to the

small ledge just below the summit, where an overhanging rock

forms a convenient shelter, and a little basin collects the

trickling water. Here we put down our loads, and in a few minutes

more stood on the summit of Mount Ophir, 4,000 feet above the

sea. The top is a small rocky platform covered with rhododendrons

and other shrubs. The afternoon was clear, and the view fine in

its way--ranges of hill and valley everywhere covered with

interminable forest, with glistening rivers winding among them.

In a distant view a forest country is very monotonous, and no

mountain I have ever ascended in the tropics presents a panorama

equal to that from Snowdon, while the views in Switzerland are

immeasurably superior. When boiling our coffee I took

observations with a good boiling-point thermometer, as well as

with the sympiesometer, and we then enjoyed our evening meal and

the noble prospect that lay before us. The night was calm and

very mild, and having made a bed of twigs and branches over which

we laid our blankets, we passed a very comfortable night. Our

porters had followed us after a rest, bringing only their rice to

cook, and luckily we did not require the baggage they left behind

them. In the morning I caught a few butterflies and beetles, and

my friend got a few land-shells; and we then descended, bringing

with us some specimens of the ferns and pitcher-plants of Padang-


The place where we had first encamped at the foot of the mountain

being very gloomy, we chose another in a kind of swamp near a

stream overgrown with Zingiberaceous plants, in which a clearing

was easily made. Here our men built two little huts without

sides that would just shelter us from the rain; we lived in

them for a week, shooting and insect-hunting, and roaming about

the forests at the foot of the mountain. This was the country of

the great Argus pheasant, and we continually heard its cry. On

asking the old Malay to try and shoot one for me, he told me that

although he had been for twenty years shooting birds in these

forests he had never yet shot one, and had never even seen one

except after it had been caught. The bird is so exceedingly shy

and wary, and runs along the ground in the densest parts of the

forest so quickly, that it is impossible to get near it; and its

sober colours and rich eye-like spots, which are so ornamental

when seen in a museum, must harmonize well with the dead leaves

among which it dwells, and render it very inconspicuous. All the

specimens sold in Malacca are caught in snares, and my informant,

though he had shot none, had snared plenty.

The tiger and rhinoceros are still found here, and a few years

ago elephants abounded, but they have lately all disappeared. We

found some heaps of dung, which seemed to be that of elephants,

and some tracks of the rhinoceros, but saw none of the animals.

However, we kept a fire up all night in case any of these

creatures should visit us, and two of our men declared that they

did one day see a rhinoceros. When our rice was finished, and our

boxes full of specimens, we returned to Ayer-Panas, and a few

days afterwards went on to Malacca, and thence to Singapore.

Mount Ophir has quite a reputation for fever, and all our friends

were astonished at our recklessness in staying so long at its

foot; but none of us suffered in the least, and I shall ever

look back with pleasure to my trip as being my first

introduction to mountain scenery in the Eastern tropics.

The meagreness and brevity of the sketch I have here given of my

visit to Singapore and the Malay Peninsula is due to my having

trusted chiefly to some private letters and a notebook, which

were lost; and to a paper on Malacca and Mount Ophir which was

sent to the Royal Geographical Society, but which was neither

read nor printed owing to press of matter at the end of a

session, and the MSS. of which cannot now be found. I the less

regret this, however, as so many works have been written on these

parts; and I always intended to pass lightly over my travels in

the western and better known portions of the Archipelago, in

order to devote more space to the remoter districts, about which

hardly anything has been written in the English language.



I ARRIVED at Sarawak on November 1st, 1854, and left it on

January 25th, 1856. In the interval I resided at many different

localities, and saw a good deal of the Dyak tribes as well as of

the Bornean Malays. I was hospitably entertained by Sir James

Brooke, and lived in his house whenever I was at the town of

Sarawak in the intervals of my journeys. But so many books have

been written about this part of Borneo since I was there, that I

shall avoid going into details of what I saw and heard and

thought of Sarawak and its ruler, confining myself chiefly to my

experiences as a naturalist in search of shells, insects, birds

and the Orangutan, and to an account of a journey through a part

of the interior seldom visited by Europeans.

The first four months of my visit were spent in various parts of

the Sarawak River, from Santubong at its mouth up to the

picturesque limestone mountains and Chinese gold-fields of Bow

and Bede. This part of the country has been so frequently

described that I shall pass it over, especially as, owing to its

being the height of the wet season, my collections were

comparatively poor and insignificant.

In March 1865 I determined to go to the coalworks which were

being opened near the Simunjon River, a small branch of the

Sadong, a river east of Sarawak and between it and the Batang-

Lupar. The Simunjon enters the Sadong River about twenty miles

up. It is very narrow and very winding, and much overshadowed by

the lofty forest, which sometimes almost meets over it. The whole

country between it and the sea is a perfectly level forest-

covered swamp, out of which rise a few isolated hills, at the

foot of one of which the works are situated. From the landing-

place to the hill a Dyak road had been formed, which consisted

solely of tree-trunks laid end to end. Along these the barefooted

natives walk and carry heavy burdens with the greatest ease, but

to a booted European it is very slippery work, and when one's

attention is constantly attracted by the various objects of

interest around, a few tumbles into the bog are almost

inevitable. During my first walk along this road I saw few

insects or birds, but noticed some very handsome orchids in

flower, of the genus Coelogyne, a group which I afterwards found

to be very abundant, and characteristic of the district. On the

slope of the hill near its foot a patch of forest had been

cleared away, and several rule houses erected, in which were

residing Mr. Coulson the engineer, and a number of Chinese

workmen. I was at first kindly accommodated in Mr. Coulson's

house, but finding the spot very suitable for me and offering

great facilities for collecting, I had a small house of two rooms

and a verandah built for myself. Here I remained nearly nine

months, and made an immense collection of insects, to which class

of animals I devoted my chief attention, owing to the

circumstances being especially favourable.

In the tropics a large proportion of the insects of all orders,

and especially of the large and favourite group of beetles, are

more or less dependent on vegetation, and particularly on timber,

bark, and leaves in various stages of decay. In the untouched

virgin forest, the insects which frequent such situations are

scattered over an immense extent of country, at spots where trees

have fallen through decay and old age, or have succumbed to the

fury of the tempest; and twenty square miles of country may not

contain so many fallen and decayed trees as are to be found in

any small clearing. The quantity and the variety of beetles and

of many other insects that can be collected at a given time in

any tropical locality, will depend, first upon the immediate

vicinity of a great extent of virgin forest, and secondly upon

the quantity of trees that for some months past have been, and

which are still being cut down, and left to dry and decay upon

the ground.

Now, during my whole twelve years' collecting in the western and

eastern tropics, I never enjoyed such advantages in this respect

as at the Simunjon coalworks. For several months from twenty to

fifty Chinamen and Dyaks were employed almost exclusively in

clearing a large space in the forest, and in making a wide

opening for a railroad to the Sadong River, two miles distant.

Besides this, sawpits were established at various points in the

jungle, and large trees were felled to be cut up into beams and

planks. For hundreds of miles in every direction a magnificent

forest extended over plain and mountain, rock and morass, and I

arrived at the spot just as the rains began to diminish and the

daily sunshine to increase; a time which I have always found the

most favourable season for collecting. The number of openings,

sunny places, and pathways were also an attraction to wasps and

butterflies; and by paying a cent each for all insects that were

brought me, I obtained from the Dyaks and the Chinamen many fine

locusts and Phasmidae, as well as numbers of handsome beetles.

When I arrived at the mines, on the 14th of March, I had

collected in the four preceding months, 320 different kinds of

beetles. In less than a fortnight I had doubled this number, an

average of about 24 new species every day. On one day I collected

76 different kinds, of which 34 were new to me. By the end of

April I had more than a thousand species, and they then went on

increasing at a slower rate, so that I obtained altogether in

Borneo about two thousand distinct kinds, of which all but about

a hundred were collected at this place, and on scarcely more than

a square mile of ground. The most numerous and most interesting

groups of beetles were the Longicorns and Rhynchophora, both pre-

eminently wood-feeders. The former, characterised by their

graceful forms and long antenna, were especially numerous,

amounting to nearly three hundred species, nine-tenths of which

were entirely new, and many of them remarkable for their large

size, strange forms, and beautiful colouring. The latter

correspond to our weevils and allied groups, and in the tropics

are exceedingly numerous and varied, often swarming upon dead

timber, so that I sometimes obtained fifty or sixty different

kinds in a day. My Bornean collections of this group exceeded

five hundred species.

My collection of butterflies was not large; but I obtained some

rare and very handsome insects, the most remarkable being the

Ornithoptera Brookeana, one of the most elegant species known.

This beautiful creature has very long and pointed wings, almost

resembling a sphinx moth in shape. It is deep velvety black, with

a curved band of spots of a brilliant metallic-green colour

extending across the wings from tip to tip, each spot being

shaped exactly like a small triangular feather, and having very

much the effect of a row of the wing coverts of the Mexican

trogon, laid upon black velvet. The only other marks are a broad

neck-collar of vivid crimson, and a few delicate white touches on

the outer margins of the hind wings. This species, which was then

quite new and which I named after Sir James Brooke, was very

rare. It was seen occasionally flying swiftly in the clearings,

and now and then settling for an instant at puddles and muddy

places, so that I only succeeded in capturing two or three

specimens. In some other parts of the country I was assured it

was abundant, and a good many specimens have been sent to

England; but as yet all have been males, and we are quite unable

to conjecture what the female may be like, owing to the extreme

isolation of the species, and its want of close affinity to any

other known insect.

One of the most curious and interesting reptiles which I met with

in Borneo was a large tree-frog, which was brought me by one of

the Chinese workmen. He assured me that he had seen it come down

in a slanting direction from a high tree, as if it flew. On

examining it, I found the toes very long and fully webbed to

their very extremity, so that when expanded they offered a

surface much larger than the body. The forelegs were also

bordered by a membrane, and the body was capable of considerable

inflation. The back and limbs were of a very deep shining green

colour, the undersurface and the inner toes yellow, while the

webs were black, rayed with yellow. The body was about four

inches long, while the webs of each hind foot, when fully

expanded, covered a surface of four square inches, and the webs

of all the feet together about twelve square inches. As the

extremities of the toes have dilated discs for adhesion, showing

the creature to be a true tree frog, it is difficult to imagine

that this immense membrane of the toes can be for the purpose of

swimming only, and the account of the Chinaman, that it flew down

from the tree, becomes more credible. This is, I believe, the

first instance known of a "flying frog," and it is very

interesting to Darwinians as showing that the variability of the

toes which have been already modified for purposes of swimming

and adhesive climbing, have been taken advantage of to enable an

allied species to pass through the air like the flying lizard. It

would appear to be a new species of the genus Rhacophorus, which

consists of several frogs of a much smaller size than this, and

having the webs of the toes less developed.

During my stay in Borneo I had no hunter to shoot for me

regularly, and, being myself fully occupied with insects, I did

not succeed in obtaining a very good collection of the birds or

Mammalia, many of which, however, are well known, being identical

with species found in Malacca. Among the Mammalia were five

squirrels,and two tigercats--the Gymnurus Rafesii, which looks

like a cross between a pig and a polecat, and the Cynogale

Bennetti--a rare, otter-like animal, with very broad muzzle

clothed with long bristles.

One of my chief objects in coming to stay at Simunjon was to see

the Orangutan (or great man-like ape of Borneo) in his native

haunts, to study his habits, and obtain good specimens of the

different varieties and species of both sexes, and of the adult

and young animals. In all these objects I succeeded beyond my

expectations, and will now give some account of my experience in

hunting the Orangutan, or "Mias," as it is called by the natives;

and as this name is short, and easily pronounced, I shall

generally use it in preference to Simia satyrus, or Orangutan.

Just a week after my arrival at the mines, I first saw a Mias. I

was out collecting insects, not more than a quarter of a mile

from the house, when I heard a rustling in a tree near, and,

looking up, saw a large red-haired animal moving slowly along,

hanging from the branches by its arms. It passed on from tree to

tree until it was lost in the jungle, which was so swampy that I

could not follow it. This mode of progression was, however, very

unusual, and is more characteristic of the Hylobates than of the

Orang. I suppose there was some individual peculiarity in this

animal, or the nature of the trees just in this place rendered it

the most easy mode of progression.

About a fortnight afterwards I heard that one was feeding in a

tree in the swamp just below the house, and, taking my gun, was

fortunate enough to find it in the same place. As soon as I

approached, it tried to conceal itself among the foliage; but, I

got a shot at it, and the second barrel caused it to fall down

almost dead, the two balls having entered the body. This was a

male, about half-grown, being scarcely three feet high. On April

26th, I was out shooting with two Dyaks, when we found another

about the same size. It fell at the first shot, but did not seem

much hurt, and immediately climbed up the nearest tree, when I

fired, and it again fell, with a broken arm and a wound in the

body. The two Dyaks now ran up to it, and each seized hold of a

hand, telling me to cut a pole, and they would secure it. But

although one arm was broken and it was only a half-grown animal,

it was too strong for these young savages, drawing them up

towards its mouth notwithstanding all their efforts, so that they

were again obliged to leave go, or they would have been seriously

bitten. It now began climbing up the tree again; and, to avoid

trouble, I shot it through the heart.

On May 2nd, I again found one on a very high tree, when I had

only a small 80-bore gun with me. However, I fired at it, and on

seeing me it began howling in a strange voice like a cough, and

seemed in a great rage, breaking off branches with its hands and

throwing them down, and then soon made off over the tree-tops. I

did not care to follow it, as it was swampy, and in parts

dangerous, and I might easily have lost myself in the eagerness

of pursuit.

On the 12th of May I found another, which behaved in a very

similar manner, howling and hooting with rage, and throwing down

branches. I shot at it five times, and it remained dead on the

top of the tree, supported in a fork in such a manner that it

would evidently not fall. I therefore returned home, and luckily

found some Dyaks, who came back with me, and climbed up the tree

for the animal. This was the first full-grown specimen I had

obtained; but it was a female, and not nearly so large or

remarkable as the full-grown males. It was, however, 3 ft. 6 in.

high, and its arms stretched out to a width of 6 ft. 6 in. I

preserved the skin of this specimen in a cask of arrack,

andprepared a perfect skeleton, which was afterwards purchased

for the Derby Museum.

Only four days afterwards some Dyaks saw another Mias near the

same place, and came to tell me. We found it to be a rather large

one, very high up on a tall tree. At the second shot it fell

rolling over, but almost immediately got up again and began to

climb. At a third shot it fell dead. This was also a full-grown

female, and while preparing to carry it home, we found a young

one face downwards in the bog. This little creature was only

about a foot long, and had evidently been hanging to its mother

when she first fell. Luckily it did not appear to have been

wounded, and after we had cleaned the mud out of its mouth it

began to cry out, and seemed quite strong and active. While

carrying it home it got its hands in my beard, and grasped so

tightly that I had great difficulty in getting free, for the

fingers are habitually bent inwards at the last joint so as to

form complete hooks. At this time it had not a single tooth, but

a few days afterwards it cut its two lower front teeth.

Unfortunately, I had no milk to give it, as neither Malays-

Chinese nor Dyaks ever use the article, and I in vain inquired

for any female animal that could suckle my little infant. I was

therefore obliged to give it rice-water from a bottle with a

quill in the cork, which after a few trials it learned to suck

very well. This was very meagre diet, and the little creature did

not thrive well on it, although I added sugar and cocoa-nut milk

occasionally, to make it more nourishing. WhenI put my finger in

its mouth it sucked with great vigour, drawing in its cheeks with

all its might in the vain effort to extract some milk, and only

after persevering a long time would it give up in disgust, and

set up a scream very like that of a baby in similar


When handled or nursed, it was very quiet and contented, but when

laid down by itself would invariably cry; and for the first few

nights was very restless and noisy. I fitted up a little box for

a cradle, with a soft mat for it to lie upon, which was changed

and washed everyday; and I soon found it necessary to wash the

little Mias as well. After I had done so a few times, it came to

like the operation, and as soon as it was dirty would begin

crying and not leave off until I took it out and carried it to

the spout, when it immediately became quiet, although it would

wince a little at the first rush of the cold water and make

ridiculously wry faces while the stream was running over its

head. It enjoyed the wiping and rubbing dry amazingly, and when I

brushed its hair seemed to be perfectly happy, lying quite still

with its arms and legs stretched out while I thoroughly brushed

the long hair of its back and arms. For the first few days it

clung desperately with all four hands to whatever it could lay

hold of, and I had to be careful to keep my beard out of its way,

as its fingers clutched hold of hair more tenaciously than

anything else, and it was impossible to free myself without

assistance. When restless, it would struggle about with its hands

up in the air trying to find something to take hold of, and, when

it had got a bit of stick or rag in two or three of its hands,

seemed quite happy. For want of something else, it would often

seize its own feet, and after a time it would constantly cross

its arms and grasp with each hand the long hair that grew just

below the opposite shoulder. The great tenacity of its grasp soon

diminished, and I was obliged to invent some means to give it

exercise and strengthen its limbs. For this purpose I made a

short ladder of three or four rounds, on which I put it to hang

for a quarter of an hour at a time. At first it seemed much

pleased, but it could not get all four hands in a comfortable

position, and, after changing about several times, would leave

hold of one hand after the other, and drop onto the floor.

Sometimes when hanging only by two hands, it would loose one, and

cross it to the opposite shoulder, grasping its own hair; and, as

this seemed much more agreeable than the stick, it would then

loose the other and tumble down, when it would cross both and lie

on its back quite contentedly, never seeming to be hurt by its

numerous tumbles. Finding it so fond of hair, I endeavoured to

make an artificial mother, by wrapping up a piece of buffalo-skin

into a bundle, and suspending it about a foot from the floor. At

first this seemed to suit it admirably, as it could sprawl its

legs about and always find some hair, which it grasped with the

greatest tenacity. I was now in hopes that I had made the little

orphan quite happy; and so it seemed for some time, until it

began to remember its lost parent, and try to suck. It would pull

itself up close to the skin, and try about everywhere for a

likely place; but, as it only succeeded in getting mouthfuls of

hair and wool, it would be greatly disgusted, and scream

violently, and, after two or three attempts, let go altogether.

One day it got some wool into its throat, and I thought it would

have choked, but after much gasping it recovered, and I was

obliged to take the imitation mother to pieces again, and give up

this last attempt to exercise the little creature.

After the first week I found I could feed it better with a spoon,

and give it a little more varied and more solid food. Well-soaked

biscuit mixed with a little egg and sugar, and sometimes sweet

potatoes, were readily eaten; and it was a never-failing

amusement to observe the curious changes of countenance by which

it would express its approval or dislike of what was given to it.

The poor little thing would lick its lips, draw in its cheeks,

and turn up its eyes with an expression of the most supreme

satisfaction when it had a mouthful particularly to its taste. On

the other hand, when its food was not sufficiently sweet or

palatable, it would turn the mouthful about with its tongue for a

moment as if trying to extract what flavour there was, and then

push it all out between its lips. If the same food was continued,

it would set up a scream and kick about violently, exactly like a

baby in a passion.

After I had had the little Mias about three weeks, I fortunately

obtained a young hare-lip monkey (Macacus cynomolgus), which,

though small, was very active, and could feed itself. I placed it

in the same box with the Mias, and they immediately became

excellent friends, neither exhibiting the least fear of the

other. The little monkey would sit upon the other's stomach, or

even on its face, without the least regard to its feelings. While

I was feeding the Mias, the monkey would sit by, picking up all

that was spilt, and occasionally putting out its hands to

intercept the spoon; and as soon as I had finished would pick off

what was left sticking to the Mias' lips, and then pull open its

mouth and see if any still remained inside; afterwards lying down

on the poor creature's stomach as on a comfortable cushion. The

little helpless Mias would submit to all these insults with the

most exemplary patience, only too glad to have something warm

near it, which it could clasp affectionately in its arms. It

sometimes, however, had its revenge; for when the monkey wanted

to go away, the Mias would hold on as long as it could by the

loose skin of its back or head, or by its tail, and it was only

after many vigorous jumps that the monkey could make his escape.

It was curious to observe the different actions of these two

animals, which could not have differed much in age. The Mias,

like a very young baby, lying on its back quite helpless, rolling

lazily from side to side, stretching out all four hands into the

air, wishing to grasp something, but hardly able to guide its

fingers to any definite object; and when dissatisfied, opening

wide its almost toothless mouth, and expressing its wants by a

most infantine scream. The little monkey, on the other hand, in

constant motion, running and jumping about wherever it pleased,

examining everything around it, seizing hold of the smallest

object with the greatest precision, balancing itself on the edge

of the box or running up a post, and helping itself to anything

eatable that came in its way. There could hardly be a greater

contrast, and the baby Mias looked more baby-like by the


When I had had it about a month, it began to exhibit some signs

of learning to run alone. When laid upon the floor it would push

itself along by its legs, or roll itself over, and thus make an

unwieldy progression. When lying in the box it would lift itself

up to the edge into almost an erect position, and once or twice

succeeded in tumbling out. When left dirty, or hungry, or

otherwise neglected, it would scream violently until attended to,

varied by a kind of coughing or pumping noise very similar to

that which is made by the adult animal. If no one was in the

house, or its cries were not attended to, it would be quiet after

a little while, but the moment it heard a footstep would begin

again harder than ever.

After five weeks it cut its two upper front teeth, but in all

this time it had not grown the least bit, remaining both in size

and weight the same as when I first procured it. This was no

doubt owing to the want of milk or other equally nourishing food.

Rice-water, rice, and biscuits were but a poor substitute, and

the expressed milk of the cocoa-nut which I sometimes gave it did

not quite agree with its stomach. To this I imputed an attack of

diarrhoea from which the poor little creature suffered greatly,

but a small dose of castor-oil operated well, and cured it. A

week or two afterwards it was again taken ill, and this time more

seriously. The symptoms were exactly those of intermittent fever,

accompanied by watery swellings on the feet and head. It lost all

appetite for its food, and, after lingering for a week a most

pitiable object, died, after being in my possession nearly three

months. I much regretted the loss of my little pet, which I had

at one time looked forward to bringing up to years of maturity,

and taking home to England. For several months it had afforded me

daily amusement by its curious ways and the inimitably ludicrous

expression of its little countenance. Its weight was three pounds

nine ounces, its height fourteen inches, and the spread of its

arms twenty-three inches. I preserved its skin and skeleton, and

in doing so found that when it fell from the tree it must have

broken an arm and a leg, which had, however, united so rapidly

that I had only noticed the hard swellings on the limbs where the

irregular junction of the bones had taken place.

Exactly a week after I had caught this interesting little animal,

I succeeded in shooting a full-grown male Orangutan. I had just

come home from an entomologising excursion when Charles [Charles

Allen, an English lad of sixteen, accompanied me as an assistant]

rushed in out of breath with running and excitement, and

exclaimed, interrupted by gasps, "Get the gun, sir,--be quick,--

such a large Mias!" "Where is it?" I asked, taking hold of my gun

as I spoke, which happened luckily to have one barrel loaded with

ball. "Close by, sir--on the path to the mines--he can't get

away." Two Dyaks chanced to be in the house at the time, so I

called them to accompany me, and started off, telling Charley to

bring all the ammunition after me as soon as possible. The path

from our clearing to the mines led along the side of the hill a

little way up its slope, and parallel with it at the foot a wide

opening had been made for a road, in which several Chinamen were

working, so that the animal could not escape into the swampy

forest below without descending to cross the road or ascending to

get round the clearings. We walked cautiously along, not making

the least noise, and listening attentively for any sound which

might betray the presence of the Mias, stopping at intervals to

gaze upwards. Charley soon joined us at the place where he had

seen the creature, and having taken the ammunition and put a

bullet in the other barrel, we dispersed a little, feeling sure

that it must be somewhere near, as it had probably descended the

hill, and would not be likely to return again.

After a short time I heard a very slight rustling sound overhead,

but on gazing up could see nothing. I moved about in every

direction to get a full view into every part of the tree under

which I had been standing, when I again heard the same noise but

louder, and saw the leaves shaking as if caused by the motion of

some heavy animal which moved off to an adjoining tree. I

immediately shouted for all of them to come up and try and get a

view, so as to allow me to have a shot. This was not an easy

matter, as the Mias had a knack of selecting places with dense

foliage beneath. Very soon, however, one of the Dyaks called me

and pointed upwards, and on looking I saw a great red hairy body

and a huge black face gazing down from a great height, as if

wanting to know what was making such a disturbance below. I

instantly fired, and he made off at once, so that I could not

then tell whether I had hit him.

He now moved very rapidly and very noiselessly for so large an

animal, so I told the Dyaks to follow and keep him in sight while

I loaded. The jungle was here full of large angular fragments of

rock from the mountain above, and thick with hanging and twisted

creepers. Running, climbing, and creeping among these, we came up

with the creature on the top of a high tree near the road, where

the Chinamen had discovered him, and were shouting their

astonishment with open mouths: "Ya Ya, Tuan; Orangutan, Tuan."

Seeing that he could not pass here without descending, he turned

up again towards the hill, and I got two shots, and following

quickly, had two more by the time he had again reached the path,

but he was always more or less concealed by foliage, and

protected by the large branch on which he was walking. Once while

loading I had a splendid view of him, moving along a large limb

of a tree in a semi-erect posture, and showing it to be an animal

of the largest size. At the path he got on to one of the loftiest

trees in the forest, and we could see one leg hanging down

useless, having been broken by a ball. He now fixed himself in a

fork, where he was hidden by thick foliage, and seemed

disinclined to move. I was afraid he would remain and die in this

position, and as it was nearly evening. I could not have got the

tree cut down that day. I therefore fired again, and he then

moved off, and going up the hill was obliged to get on to some

lower trees, on the branches of one of which he fixed himself in

such a position that he could not fall, and lay all in a heap as

if dead, or dying.

I now wanted the Dyaks to go up and cut off the branch he was

resting on, but they were afraid, saying he was not dead, and

would come and attack them. We then shook the adjoining tree,

pulled the hanging creepers, and did all we could to disturb him,

but without effect, so I thought it best to send for two Chinamen

with axes to cut down the tree. While the messenger was gone,

however, one of the Dyaks took courage and climbed towards him,

but the Mias did not wait for him to get near, moving off to

another tree, where he got on to a dense mass of branches and

creepers which almost completely hid him from our view. The tree

was luckily a small one, so when the axes came we soon had it cut

through; but it was so held up by jungle ropes and climbers to

adjoining trees that it only fell into a sloping position. The

Mias did not move, and I began to fear that after all we should

not get him, as it was near evening, and half a dozen more trees

would have to be cut down before the one he was on would fall. As

a last resource we all began pulling at the creepers, which shook

the tree very much, and, after a few minutes, when we had almost

given up all hope, down he came with a crash and a thud like the

fall of a giant. And he was a giant, his head and body being

fully as large as a man's. He was of the kind called by the Dyaks

"Mias Chappan," or "Mias Pappan," which has the skin of the face

broadened out to a ridge or fold at each side. His outstretched

arms measured seven feet three inches across, and his height,

measuring fairly from the top of the head to the heel was four

feet two inches. The body just below the arms was three feet two

inches round, and was quite as long as a man's, the legs being

exceedingly short in proportion. On examination we found he had

been dreadfully wounded. Both legs were broken, one hip-joint and

the root of the spine completely shattered, and two bullets were

found flattened in his neck and jaws. Yet he was still alive when

he fell. The two Chinamen carried him home tied to a pole, and I

was occupied with Charley the whole of the next day preparing the

skin and boiling the bones to make a perfect skeleton, which are

now preserved in the Museum at Derby.

About ten days after this, on June 4th, some Dyaks came to tell

us that the day before a Mias had nearly killed one of their

companions. A few miles down the river there is a Dyak house, and

the inhabitants saw a large Orang feeding on the young shoots of

a palm by the riverside. On being alarmed he retreated towards

the jungle which was close by, and a number of the men, armed

with spears and choppers, ran out to intercept him. The man who

was in front tried to run his spear through the animal's body,

but the Mias seized it in his hands, and in an instant got hold

of the man's arm, which he seized in his mouth, making his teeth

meet in the flesh above the elbow, which he tore and lacerated in

a dreadful manner. Had not the others been close behind, the man

would have keen more seriously injured, if not killed, as he was

quite powerless; but they soon destroyed the creature with their

spears and choppers. The man remained ill for a long time, and

never fully recovered the use of his arm.

They told me the dead Mias was still lying where it had been

killed, so I offered them a reward to bring it up to our landing-

place immediately, which they promised to do. They did not come,

however, until the next day, and then decomposition had

commenced, and great patches of the hair came off, so that it was

useless to skin it. This I regretted much, as it was a very fine

full-grown male. I cut off the head and took it home to clean,

while I got my men to make a closed fence about five feet high

around the rest of the body, which would soon be devoured by

maggots, small lizards, and ants, leaving me the skeleton. There

was a great gash in his face, which had cut deep into the bone,

but the skull was a very fine one, and the teeth were remarkably

large and perfect.

On June 18th I had another great success, and obtained a fine

adult male. A Chinaman told me be had seen him feeding by the

side of the path to the river, and I found him at the same place

as the first individual I had shot. He was feeding on an oval

green fruit having a fine red arillus, like the mace which

surrounds the nutmeg, and which alone he seemed to eat, biting

off the thick outer rind and dropping it in a continual shower. I

had found the same fruit in the stomach of some others which I

had killed. Two shots caused this animal to loose his hold, but

he hung for a considerable time by one hand, and then fell flat

on his face and was half buried in the swamp. For several minutes

he lay groaning and panting, while we stood close around,

expecting every breath to be his last. Suddenly, however, by a

violent effort he raised himself up, causing us all to step back

a yard or two, when, standing nearly erect, he caught hold of a

small tree, and began to ascend it. Another shot through the back

caused him to fall down dead. A flattened bullet was found in his

tongue, having entered the lower part of the abdomen and

completely traversed the body, fracturing the first cervical

vertebra. Yet it was after this fearful wound that he had risen,

and begun climbing with considerable facility. This also was a

full-grown male of almost exactly the same dimensions as the

other two I had measured.

On June 21st I shot another adult female, which was eating fruit

in a low tree, and was the only one which I ever killed by a

single ball.

On June 24th I was called by a Chinaman to shoot a Mias, which,

he said, was on a tree close by his house, at the coal-mines.

Arriving at the place, we had some difficulty in finding the

animal, as he had gone off into the jungle, which was very rocky

and difficult to traverse. At last we found him up a very high

tree, and could see that he was a male of the largest size. As

soon as I had fired, he moved higher up the tree, and while he

was doing so I fired again; and we then saw that one arm was

broken. He had now reached the very highest part of an immense

tree, and immediately began breaking off boughs all around, and

laying them across and across to make a nest. It was very

interesting to see how well he had chosen his place, and how

rapidly he stretched out his unwounded arm in every direction,

breaking off good-sized boughs with the greatest ease, and laying

them back across each other, so that in a few minutes he had

formed a compact mass of foliage, which entirely concealed him

from our sight. He was evidently going to pass the night here,

and would probably get away early the next morning, if not

wounded too severely. I therefore fired again several times, in

hopes of making him leave his nest; but, though I felt sure I had

hit him, as at each shot he moved a little, he would not go away.

At length he raised himself up, so that half his body was

visible, and then gradually sank down, his head alone remaining

on the edge of the nest. I now felt sure he was dead, and tried

to persuade the Chinaman and his companion to cut down the tree;

but it was a very large one, and they had been at work all day,

and nothing would induce them to attempt it. The next morning, at

daybreak, I came to the place, and found that the Mias was

evidently dead, as his head was visible in exactly the same

position as before. I now offered four Chinamen a day's wages

each to cut the tree down at once, as a few hours of sunshine

would cause decomposition on the surface of the skin; but, after

looking at it and trying it, they determined that it was very big

and very hard, and would not attempt it. Had I doubled my offer,

they would probably have accepted it, as it would not have been

more than two or three hours' work; and had I been on a short

visit only, I would have done so; but as I was a resident, and

intended remaining several months longer, it would not have

answered to begin paying too exorbitantly, or I should have got

nothing done in the future at a lower rate.

For some weeks after, a cloud of flies could be seen all day,

hovering over the body of the dead Mias; but in about a month all

was quiet, and the body was evidently drying up under the

influence of a vertical sun alternating with tropical rains. Two

or three months later two Malays, on the offer of a dollar,

climbed the tree and let down the dried remains. The skin was

almost entirely enclosing the skeleton, and inside were millions

of the pupa-cases of flies and other insects, with thousands of

two or three species of small necrophagous beetles. The skull had

been much shattered by balls, but the skeleton was perfect,

except one small wristbone, which had probably dropped out and

been carried away by a lizard.

Three days after I had shot this one and lost it, Charles found

three small Orangs feeding together. We had a long chase after

them, and had a good opportunity of seeing how they make their

way from tree to tree by always choosing those limbs whose

branches are intermingled with those of some other tree, and then

grasping several of the small twigs together before they venture

to swing themselves across. Yet they do this so quickly and

certainly, that they make way among the trees at the rate of full

five or six miles an hour, as we had continually to run to keep

up with them. One of these we shot and killed, but it remained

high up in the fork of a tree; and, as young animals are of

comparatively little interest, I did not have the tree cut down

to get it.

At this time I had the misfortune to slip among some fallen

trees, and hurt my ankle; and, not being careful enough at first,

it became a severe inflamed ulcer, which would not heal, and kept

me a prisoner in the house the whole of July and part of August.

When I could get out again, I determined to take a trip up a

branch of the Simunjon River to Semabang, where there was said to

be a large Dyak house, a mountain with abundance of fruit, and

plenty of Orangs and fine birds. As the river was very narrow,

and I was obliged to go in a very small boat with little luggage,

I only took with me a Chinese boy as a servant. I carried a cask

of medicated arrack to put Mias skins in, and stores and

ammunition for a fortnight. After a few miles, the stream became

very narrow and winding, and the whole country on each side was

flooded. On the banks were an abundance of monkeys--the common

Macacus cynomolgus, a black Semnopithecus, and the extraordinary

long-nosed monkey (Nasalis larvatus), which is as large as a

three-year old child, has a very long tail, and a fleshy nose

longer than that of the biggest-nosed man. The further we went on

the narrower and more winding the stream became; fallen trees

sometimes blocked up our passage, and sometimes tangled branches

and creepers met completely across it, and had to be cut away

before we could get on. It took us two days to reach Semabang,

and we hardly saw a bit of dry land all the way. In the latter

part of the journey I could touch the bushes on each side for

miles; and we were often delayed by the screw-pines (Pandanus),

which grow abundantly in the water, falling across the stream. In

other places dense rafts of floating grass completely filled up

the channel, making our journey a constant succession of


Near the landing-place we found a fine house, 250 feet long,

raised high above the ground on posts, with a wide verandah and

still wider platform of bamboo in front of it. Almost all the

people, however, were away on some excursion after edible birds'-

nests or bees'-wax, and there only remained in the house two or

three old men and women with a lot of children. The mountain or

hill was close by, covered with a complete forest of fruit-trees,

among which the Durian and Mangusteen were very abundant; but the

fruit was not yet quite ripe, except a little here and there. I

spent a week at this place, going out everyday in various

directions about the mountain, accompanied by a Malay, who had

stayed with me while the other boatmen returned. For three days

we found no Orangs, but shot a deer and several monkeys. On the

fourth day, however, we found a Mias feeding on a very lofty

Durian tree, and succeeded in killing it, after eight shots.

Unfortunately it remained in the tree, hanging by its hands, and

we were obliged to leave it and return home, as it was several

miles off. As I felt pretty sure it would fall during the night,

I returned to the place early the next morning, and found it on

the ground beneath the tree. To my astonishment and pleasure, it

appeared to be a different kind from any I had yet seen; for

although a full-grown male, by its fully developed teeth and very

large canines, it had no sign of the lateral protuberance on the

face, and was about one-tenth smaller in all its dimensions than

the other adult males. The upper incisors, however, appeared to

be broader than in the larger species, a character distinguishing

the Simia morio of Professor Owen, which he had described from

the cranium of a female specimen. As it was too far to carry the

animal home, I set to work and skinned the body on the spot,

leaving the head, hands, and feet attached, to be finished at

home. This specimen is now in the British Museum.

At the end of a week, finding no more Orangs, I returned home;

and, taking in a few fresh stores, and this time accompanied by

Charles, went up another branch of the river, very similar in

character, to a place called Menyille, where there were several

small Dyak houses and one large one. Here the landing place was a

bridge of rickety poles, over a considerable distance of water;

and I thought it safer to leave my cask of arrack securely placed

in the fork of a tree. To prevent the natives from drinking it, I

let several of them see me put in a number of snakes and lizards;

but I rather think this did not prevent them from tasting it. We

were accommodated here in the verandah of the large house, in

which were several great baskets of dried human heads, the

trophies of past generations of head-hunters. Here also there was

a little mountain covered with fruit-trees, and there were some

magnificent Durian trees close by the house, the fruit of which

was ripe; and as the Dyaks looked upon me as a benefactor in

killing the Mias, which destroys a great deal of their fruit,

they let us eat as much as we liked; we revelled in this emperor

of fruits in its greatest perfection.

The very day after my arrival in this place, I was so fortunate

as to shoot another adult male of the small Orang, the Mias-

kassir of the Dyaks. It fell when dead, but caught in a fork of

the tree and remained fixed. As I was very anxious to get it, I

tried to persuade two young Dyaks who were with me to cut down

the tree, which was tall, perfectly straight and smooth-barked,

and without a branch for fifty or sixty feet. To my surprise,

they said they would prefer climbing up it, but it would be a

good deal of trouble, and, after a little talking together, they

said they would try. They first went to a clump of bamboo that

stood near, and cut down one of the largest stems. From this they

chopped off a short piece, and splitting it, made a couple of

stout pegs, about a foot long and sharp at one end. Then cutting

a thick piece of wood for a mallet, they drove one of the pegs

into the tree and hung their weight upon it. It held, and this

seemed to satisfy them, for they immediately began making a

quantity of pegs of the same kind, while I looked on with great

interest, wondering how they could possibly ascend such a lofty

tree by merely driving pegs in it, the failure of any one of

which at a good height would certainly cause their death. When

about two dozen pegs were made, one of them began cutting some

very long and slender bamboo from another clump, and also

prepared some cord from the hark of a small tree. They now drove

in a peg very firmly at about three feet from the ground, and

bringing one of the long bamboos, stood it upright close to the

tree, and bound it firmly to the two first pegs, by means of the

bark cord and small notches near the head of each peg. One of the

Dyaks now stood on the first peg and drove in a third, about

level with his face, to which he tied the bamboo in the same way,

and then mounted another step, standing on one foot, and holding

by the bamboo at the peg immediately above him, while he drove in

the next one. In this manner he ascended about twenty feet; when

the upright bamboo was becoming thin, another was handed up by

his companion, and this was joined by tying both bamboos to three

or four of the pegs. When this was also nearly ended, a third was

added, and shortly after, the lowest branches of the tree were

reached, along which the young Dyak scrambled, and soon sent the

Mias tumbling down headlong. I was exceedingly struck by the

ingenuity of this mode of climbing, and the admirable manner in

which the peculiar properties of the bamboo were made available.

The ladder itself was perfectly safe, since if any one peg were

loose or faulty, and gave way, the strain would be thrown on

several others above and below it. I now understood the use of

the line of bamboo pegs sticking in trees, which I had often

seen, and wondered for what purpose they could have been put

there. This animal was almost identical in size and appearance

with the one I had obtained at Semabang, and was the only other

male specimen of the Simia morio which I obtained. It is now in

the Derby Museum.

I afterwards shot two adult females and two young ones of

different ages, all of which I preserved. One of the females,

with several young ones, was feeding on a Durian tree with unripe

fruit; and as soon as she saw us she began breaking off branches

and the great spiny fruits with every appearance of rage, causing

such a shower of missiles as effectually kept us from approaching

too near the tree. This habit of throwing down branches when

irritated has been doubted, but I have, as here narrated,

observed it myself on at least three separate occasions. It was

however always the female Arias who behaved in this way, and it

may be that the male, trusting more to his great strength and his

powerful canine teeth, is not afraid of any other animal, and

does not want to drive them away, while the parental instinct of

the female leads her to adopt this mode of defending herself and

her young ones.

In preparing the skins and skeletons of these animals, I was much

troubled by the Dyak dogs, which, being always kept in a state of

semi-starvation, are ravenous for animal food. I had a great iron

pan, in which I boiled the bones to make skeletons, and at night

I covered this over with boards, and put heavy stones upon it;

but the dogs managed to remove these and carried away the greater

part of one of my specimens. On another occasion they gnawed away

a good deal of the upper leather of my strong boots, and even ate

a piece of my mosquito-curtain, where some lamp-oil had been

spilt over it some weeks before.

On our return down the stream, we had the fortune to fall in with

a very old male Mias, feeding on some low trees growing in the

water. The country was flooded for a long distance, but so full

of trees and stumps that the laden boat could not be got in among

them, and if it could have been we should only have frightened

the Mias away. I therefore got into the water, which was nearly

up to my waist, and waded on until I was near enough for a shot.

The difficulty then was to load my gun again, for I was so deep

in the water that I could not hold the gun sloping enough to pour

the powder in. I therefore had to search for a shallow place, and

after several shots under these trying circumstances, I was

delighted to see the monstrous animal roll over into the water. I

now towed him after me to the stream, but the Malays objected to

having the animal put into the boat, and he was so heavy that I

could not do it without their help. I looked about for a place to

skin him, but not a bit of dry ground was to be seen, until at

last I found a clump of two or three old trees and stumps,

between which a few feet of soil had collected just above the

water, which was just large enough for us to drag the animal upon

it. I first measured him, and found him to be by far the largest

I had yet seen, for, though the standing height was the same as

the others (4 feet 2 inches), the outstretched arms were 7 feet 9

inches, which was six inches more than the previous one, and the

immense broad face was 13 1/2 inches wide, whereas the widest I

had hitherto seen was only 11 1/2 inches. The girth of the body

was 3 feet 7 1/2 inches. I am inclined to believe, therefore,

that the length and strength of the arms, and the width of the

face continues increasing to a very great age, while the standing

height, from the sole of the foot to the crown of the head,

rarely if ever exceeds 4 feet 2 inches.

As this was the last Mias I shot, and the last time I saw an

adult living animal, I will give a sketch of its general habits,

and any other facts connected with it. The Orangutan is known to

inhabit Sumatra and Borneo, and there is every reason to believe

that it is confined to these two great islands, in the former of

which, however, it seems to be much more rare. In Borneo it has a

wide range, inhabiting many districts on the southwest,

southeast, northeast, and northwest coasts, but appears to be

chiefly confined to the low and swampy forests. It seems, at

first sight, very inexplicable that the Mias should be quite

unknown in the Sarawak valley, while it is abundant in Sambas, on

the west, and Sadong, on the east. But when we know the habits

and mode of life of the animal, we see a sufficient reason for

this apparent anomaly in the physical features of the Sarawak

district. In the Sadong, where I observed it, the Mias is only

found when the country is low level and swampy, and at the same

time covered with a lofty virgin forest. From these swamps rise

many isolated mountains, on some of which the Dyaks have settled

and covered with plantations of fruit trees. These are a great

attraction to the Mias, which comes to feed on the unripe fruits,

but always retires to the swamp at night. Where the country

becomes slightly elevated, and the soil dry, the Mias is no

longer to be found. For example, in all the lower part of the

Sadong valley it abounds, but as soon as we ascend above the

limits of the tides, where the country, though still flat, is

high enough to be dry, it disappears. Now the Sarawak valley has

this peculiarity--the lower portion though swampy, is not

covered with a continuous lofty forest, but is principally

occupied by the Nipa palm; and near the town of Sarawak where the

country becomes dry, it is greatly undulated in many parts, and

covered with small patches of virgin forest, and much second-

growth jungle on the ground, which has once been cultivated by

the Malays or Dyaks.

Now it seems probable to me that a wide extent of unbroken and

equally lofty virgin forest is necessary to the comfortable

existence of these animals. Such forests form their open country,

where they can roam in every direction with as much facility as

the Indian on the prairie, or the Arab on the desert, passing

from tree-top to tree-top without ever being obliged to descend

upon the earth. The elevated and the drier districts are more

frequented by man, more cut up by clearings and low second-growth

jungle--not adapted to its peculiar mode of progression, and

where it would therefore be more exposed to danger, and more

frequently obliged to descend upon the earth. There is probably

also a greater variety of fruit in the Mias district, the small

mountains which rise like islands out of it serving as gardens or

plantations of a sort, where the trees of the uplands are to be

found in the very midst of the swampy plains.

It is a singular and very interesting sight to watch a Mias

making his way leisurely through the forest. He walks

deliberately along some of the larger branches in the semi-erect

attitude which the great length of his arms and the shortness of

his legs cause him naturally to assume; and the disproportion

between these limbs is increased by his walking on his knuckles,

not on the palm of the hand, as we should do. He seems always to

choose those branches which intermingle with an adjoining tree,

on approaching which he stretches out his long arms, and seizing

the opposing boughs, grasps them together with both hands, seems

to try their strength, and then deliberately swings himself

across to the next branch, on which he walks along as before. He

never jumps or springs, or even appears to hurry himself, and yet

manages to get along almost as quickly as a person can run

through the forest beneath. The long and powerful arms are of the

greatest use to the animal, enabling it to climb easily up the

loftiest trees, to seize fruits and young leaves from slender

boughs which will not bear its weight, and to gather leaves and

branches with which to form its nest. I have already described

how it forms a nest when wounded, but it uses a similar one to

sleep on almost every night. This is placed low down, however, on

a small tree not more than from twenty to fifty feet from the

ground, probably because it is warmer and less exposed to wind

than higher up. Each Mias is said to make a fresh one for himself

every night; but I should think that is hardly probable, or their

remains would be much more abundant; for though I saw several

about the coal-mines, there must have been many Orangs about

every day, and in a year their deserted nests would become very

numerous. The Dyaks say that, when it is very wet, the Mias

covers himself over with leaves of pandanus, or large ferns,

which has perhaps led to the story of his making a hut in the


The Orang does not leave his bed until the sun has well risen and

has dried up the dew upon the leaves. He feeds all through the

middle of the day, but seldom returns to the same tree two days

running. They do not seem much alarmed at man, as they often

stared down upon me for several minutes, and then only moved away

slowly to an adjacent tree. After seeing one, I have often had to

go half a mile or more to fetch my gun, and in nearly every case

have found it on the same tree, or within a hundred yards, when I

returned. I never saw two full-grown animals together, but both

males and females are sometimes accompanied by half-grown young

ones, while, at other times, three or four young ones were seen

in company. Their food consists almost exclusively of fruit, with

occasionally leaves, buds, and young shoots. They seem to prefer

unripe fruits, some of which were very sour, others intensely

bitter, particularly the large red, fleshy arillus of one which

seemed an especial favourite. In other cases they eat only the

small seed of a large fruit, and they almost always waste and

destroy more than they eat, so that there is a continual rain of

rejected portions below the tree they are feeding on. The Durian

is an especial favourite, and quantities of this delicious fruit

are destroyed wherever it grows surrounded by forest, but they

will not cross clearings to get at them. It seems wonderful how

the animal can tear open this fruit, the outer covering of which

is so thick and tough, and closely covered with strong conical

spines. It probably bites off a few of these first, and then,

making a small hole, tears open the fruit with its powerful


The Mias rarely descends to the ground, except when pressed by

hunger, it seeks succulent shoots by the riverside; or, in very

dry weather, has to search after water, of which it generally

finds sufficient in the hollows of leaves. Only once I saw two

half-grown Orangs on the ground in a dry hollow at the foot of

the Simunjon hill. They were playing together, standing erect,

and grasping each other by the arms. It may be safely stated,

however, that the Orang never walks erect, unless when using its

hands to support itself by branches overhead or when attacked.

Representations of its walking with a stick are entirely


The Dyaks all declare that the Mias is never attacked by any

animal in the forest, with two rare exceptions; and the accounts

I received of these are so curious that I give them nearly in the

words of my informants, old Dyak chiefs, who had lived all their

lives in the places where the animal is most abundant. The first

of whom I inquired said: "No animal is strong enough to hurt the

Mias, and the only creature he ever fights with is the crocodile.

When there is no fruit in the jungle, he goes to seek food on the

banks of the river where there are plenty of young shoots that he

likes, and fruits that grow close to the water. Then the

crocodile sometimes tries to seize him, but the Mias gets upon

him, and beats him with his hands and feet, and tears him and

kills him." He added that he had once seen such a fight, and that

he believes that the Mias is always the victor.

My next informant was the Orang Kaya, or chief of the Balow

Dyaks, on the Simunjon River. He said: "The Mias has no enemies;

no animals dare attack it but the crocodile and the python. He

always kills the crocodile by main strength, standing upon it,

pulling open its jaws, and ripping up its throat. If a python

attacks a Mias, he seizes it with his hands, and then bites it,

and soon kills it. The Mias is very strong; there is no animal in

the jungle so strong as he."

It is very remarkable that an animal so large, so peculiar, and

of such a high type of form as the Orangutan, should be confined

to so limited a district--to two islands, and those almost the

last inhabited by the higher Mammalia; for, east of Borneo and

Java, the Quadrumania, Ruminants, Carnivora, and many other

groups of Mammalla diminish rapidly, and soon entirely disappear.

When we consider, further, that almost all other animals have in

earlier ages been represented by allied yet distinct forms--

that, in the latter part of the tertiary period, Europe was

inhabited by bears, deer, wolves, and cats; Australia by

kangaroos and other marsupials; South America by gigantic sloths

and ant-eaters; all different from any now existing, though

intimately allied to them--we have every reason to believe that

the Orangutan, the Chimpanzee, and the Gorilla have also had

their forerunners. With what interest must every naturalist look

forward to the time when the caves and tertiary deposits of the

tropics may be thoroughly examined, and the past history and

earliest appearance of the great man-like apes be made known at


I will now say a few words as to the supposed existence of a

Bornean Orang as large as the Gorilla. I have myself examined the

bodies of seventeen freshly-killed Orangs, all of which were

carefully measured; and of seven of them, I preserved the

skeleton. I also obtained two skeletons killed by other persons.

Of this extensive series, sixteen were fully adult, nine being

males, and seven females. The adult males of the large Orangs

only varied from 4 feet 1 inch to 4 feet 2 inches in height,

measured fairly to the heel, so as to give the height of the

animal if it stood perfectly erect; the extent of the

outstretched arms, from 7 feet 2 inches to 7 feet 8 inches; and

the width of the face, from 10 inches to 13 1/2 inches. The

dimensions given by other naturalists closely agree with mine.

The largest Orang measured by Temminck was 4 feet high. Of

twenty-five specimens collected by Schlegel and Muller, the

largest old male was 4 feet 1 inch; and the largest skeleton in

the Calcutta Museum was, according to Mr. Blyth, 4 feet 1 1/2

inch. My specimens were all from the northwest coast of Borneo;

those of the Dutch from the west and south coasts; and no

specimen has yet reached Europe exceeding these dimensions,

although the total number of skins and skeletons must amount to

over a hundred.

Strange to say, however, several persons declare that they have

measured Orangs of a much larger size. Temminck, in his Monograph

of the Orang, says that he has just received news of the capture

of a specimen 5 feet 3 inches high. Unfortunately, it never seems

to have a reached Holland, for nothing has since been heard of

any such animal. Mr. St. John, in his "Life in the Forests of the

Far East," vol. ii. p. 237, tells us of an Orang shot by a friend

of his, which was 5 feet 2 inches from the heel to the top of the

head, the arm 17 inches in girth, and the wrist 12 inches! The

head alone was brought to Sarawak, and Mr. St. John tells us that

he assisted to measure this, and that it was 15 inches broad by

14 long. Unfortunately, even this skull appears not to have been

preserved, for no specimen corresponding to these dimensions has

yet reached England.

In a letter from Sir James Brooke, dated October 1857 in which he

acknowledges the receipt of my Papers on the Orang, published in

the "Annals and Magazine of Natural History," he sends me the

measurements of a specimen killed by his nephew, which I will

give exactly as I received it: "September 3rd, 1867, killed

female Orangutan. Height, from head to heel, 4 feet 6 inches.

Stretch from fingers to fingers across body, 6 feet 1 inch.

Breadth of face, including callosities, 11 inches." Now, in these

dimensions, there is palpably one error; for in every Orang yet

measured by any naturalist, an expanse of arms of 6 feet 1 inch

corresponds to a height of about 3 feet 6 inches, while the

largest specimens of 4 feet to 4 feet 2 inches high, always have

the extended arms as much as 7 feet 3 inches to 7 feet 8 inches.

It is, in fact, one of the characters of the genus to have the

arms so long that an animal standing nearly erect can rest its

fingers on the ground. A height of 4 feet 6 inches would

therefore require a stretch of arms of at least 8 feet! If it

were only 6 feet to that height, as given in the dimensions

quoted, the animal would not be an Orang at all, but a new genus

of apes, differing materially in habits and mode of progression.

But Mr. Johnson, who shot this animal, and who knows Orangs well,

evidently considered it to be one; and we have therefore to judge

whether it is more probable that he made a mistake of two feet in

the stretch of the arms, or of one foot in the height. The latter

error is certainly the easiest to make, and it will bring his

animal into agreement, as to proportions and size, with all those

which exist in Europe. How easy it is to be deceived as to the

height of these animals is well shown in the case of the Sumatran

Orang, the skin of which was described by Dr. Clarke Abel. The

captain and crew who killed this animal declared that when alive

he exceeded the tallest man, and looked so gigantic that they

thought he was 7 feet high; but that, when he was killed and lay

upon the ground, they found he was only about 6 feet. Now it will

hardly be credited that the skin of this identical animal exists

in the Calcutta Museum, and Mr. Blyth, the late curator, states

"that it is by no means one of the largest size"; which means

that it is about 4 feet high!

Having these undoubted examples of error in the dimensions of

Orangs, it is not too much to conclude that Mr. St. John's friend

made a similar error of measurement, or rather, perhaps, of

memory; for we are not told that the dimensions were noted down

at the time they were made. The only figures given by Mr. St.

John on his own authority are that "the head was 15 inches broad

by 14 inches long." As my largest male was 13 1/2 broad across

the face, measured as soon as the animal was killed, I can quite

understand that when the head arrived at Sarawak from the Batang

Lupar, after two or three days' voyage, it was so swollen by

decomposition as to measure an inch more than when it was fresh.

On the whole, therefore, I think it will be allowed, that up to

this time we have not the least reliable evidence of the

existence of Orangs in Borneo more than 4 feet 2 inches high.




As the wet season was approaching, I determined to return to

Sarawak, sending all my collections with Charles Allen around by

sea, while I myself proposed to go up to the sources of the

Sadong River and descend by the Sarawak valley. As the route was

somewhat difficult, I took the smallest quantity of baggage, and

only one servant, a Malay lad named Bujon, who knew the language

of the Sadong Dyaks, with whom he had traded. We left the mines

on the 27th of November, and the next day reached the Malay

village of G˙dong, where I stayed a short time to buy fruit and

eggs, and called upon the Datu Bandar, or Malay governor of the

place. He lived in a large, arid well-built house, very dirty

outside and in, and was very inquisitive about my business, and

particularly about the coal-mines. These puzzle the natives

exceedingly, as they cannot understand the extensive and costly

preparations for working coal, and cannot believe it is to be

used only as fuel when wood is so abundant and so easily

obtained. It was evident that Europeans seldom came here, for

numbers of women skeltered away as I walked through the village

and one girl about ten or twelve years old, who had just brought

a bamboo full of water from the river, threw it down with a cry

of horror and alarm the moment she caught sight of me, turned

around and jumped into the stream. She swam beautifully, and kept

looking back as if expecting I would follow her, screaming

violently all the time; while a number of men and boys were

laughing at her ignorant terror.

At Jahi, the next village, the stream became so swift in

consequence of a flood, that my heavy boat could make no way, and

I was obliged to send it back and go on in a very small open one.

So far the river had been very monotonous, the banks being

cultivated as rice-fields, and little thatched huts alone

breaking the unpicturesque line of muddy bank crowned with tall

grasses, and backed by the top of the forest behind the

cultivated ground. A few hours beyond Jahi we passed the limits

of cultivation, and had the beautiful virgin forest coming down

to the water's edge, with its palms and creepers, its noble

trees, its ferns, and epiphytes. The banks of the river were,

however, still generally flooded, and we had some difficulty in

finding a dry spot to sleep on. Early in the morning we reached

Empugnan, a small Malay village, situated at the foot of an

isolated mountain which had been visible from the mouth of the

Simunjon River. Beyond here the tides are not felt, and we now

entered upon a district of elevated forest, with a finer

vegetation. Large trees stretch out their arms across the stream,

and the steep, earthy banks are clothed with ferns and

zingiberaceous plants.

Early in the afternoon we arrived at Tabˇkan, the first village

of the Hill Dyaks. On an open space near the river, about twenty

boys were playing at a game something like what we call

"prisoner's base;" their ornaments of beads and brass wire and

their gay-coloured kerchiefs and waist-cloths showing to much

advantage, and forming a very pleasing sight. On being called by

Bujon, they immediately left their game to carry my things up to

the "headhouse,"--a circular building attached to most Dyak

villages, and serving as a lodging for strangers, the place for

trade, the sleeping-room of the unmarried youths, and the general

council-chamber. It is elevated on lofty posts, has a large

fireplace in the middle and windows in the roof all round, and

forms a very pleasant and comfortable abode. In the evening it

was crowded with young men and boys, who came to look at me. They

were mostly fine young fellows, and I could not help admiring the

simplicity and elegance of their costume. Their only dress is

the long "chawat," or waist-cloth, which hangs down before and

behind. It is generally of blue cotton, ending in three broad

bands of red, blue, and white. Those who can afford it wear a

handkerchief on the head, which is either red, with a narrow

border of gold lace, or of three colours, like the "chawat." The

large flat moon-shaped brass earrings, the heavy necklace of

white or black beads, rows of brass rings on the arms and legs,

and armlets of white shell, all serve to relieve and set off the

pure reddish brown skin and jet-black hair. Add to this the

little pouch containing materials for betel-chewing, and a long

slender knife, both invariably worn at the side, and you have the

everyday dress of the young Dyak gentleman.

The "Orang Kaya," or rich man, as the chief of the tribe is

called, now came in with several of the older men; and the

"bitchara" or talk commenced, about getting a boat and men to

take me on the next morning. As I could not understand a word of

their language, which is very different from Malay, I took no

part in the proceedings, but was represented by my boy Bujon, who

translated to me most of what was said. A Chinese trader was in

the house, and he, too, wanted men the next day; but on his

hinting this to the Orang Kaya, he was sternly told that a white

man's business was now being discussed, and he must wait another

day before his could be thought about.

After the "bitchara "was over and the old chiefs gone, I asked

the young men to play or dance, or amuse themselves in their

accustomed way; and after some little hesitation they agreed to

do so. They first had a trial of strength, two boys sitting

opposite each other, foot being placed against foot, and a stout

stick grasped by both their hands. Each then tried to throw

himself back, so as to raise his adversary up from the ground,

either by main strength or by a sudden effort. Then one of the

men would try his strength against two or three of the boys; and

afterwards they each grasped their own ankle with a hand, and

while one stood as firm as he could, the other swung himself

around on one leg, so as to strike the other's free leg, and try

to overthrow him. When these games had been played all around with

varying success, we had a novel kind of concert. Some placed a

leg across the knee, and struck the fingers sharply on the ankle,

others beat their arms against their sides like a cock when he

is going to crow, this making a great variety of clapping sounds,

while another with his hand under his armpit produced a deep

trumpet note; and, as they all kept time very well, the effect

was by no means unpleasing. This seemed quite a favourite

amusement with them, and they kept it up with much spirit.

The next morning we started in a boat about thirty feet long, and

only twenty-eight inches wide. The stream here suddenly changes

its character. Hitherto, though swift, it had been deep and

smooth, and confined by steep banks. Now it rushed and rippled

over a pebbly, sandy, or rocky bed, occasionally forming

miniature cascades and rapids, and throwing up on one side or the

other broad banks of finely coloured pebbles. No paddling could

make way here, but the Dyaks with bamboo poles propelled us along

with great dexterity and swiftness, never losing their balance in

such a narrow and unsteady vessel, though standing up and

exerting all their force. It was a brilliant day, and the

cheerful exertions of the men, the rushing of the sparkling

waters, with the bright and varied foliage, which from either

bank stretched over our heads, produced an exhilarating sensation

which recalled my canoe voyages on the grander waters of South


Early in the afternoon we reached the village of Borotˇi, and,

though it would have been easy to reach the next one before

night, I was obliged to stay, as my men wanted to return and

others could not possibly go on with me without the preliminary

talking. Besides, a white man was too great a rarity to be

allowed to escape them, and their wives would never have forgiven

them if, when they returned from the fields, they found that such

a curiosity had not been kept for them to see. On entering the

house to which I was invited, a crowd of sixty or seventy men,

women, and children gathered around me, and I sat for half an hour

like some strange animal submitted for the first time to the gaze

of an inquiring public. Brass rings were here in the greatest

profusion, many of the women having their arms completely covered

with them, as well as their legs from the ankle to the knee.

Round the waist they wear a dozen or more coils of fine rattan

stained red, to which the petticoat is attached. Below this are

generally a number of coils of brass wire, a girdle of small

silver coins, and sometimes a broad belt of brass ring armour. On

their heads they wear a conical hat without a crown, formed of

variously coloured beads, kept in shape by rings of rattan, and

forming a fantastic but not unpicturesque headdress.

Walking out to a small hill near the village, cultivated as a

rice-field, I had a fine view of the country, which was becoming

quite hilly, and towards the south, mountainous. I took bearings

and sketches of all that was visible, an operation which caused

much astonishment to the Dyaks who accompanied me, and produced

a request to exhibit the compass when I returned. I was then

surrounded by a larger crowd than before, and when I took my

evening meal in the midst of a circle of about a hundred

spectators anxiously observing every movement and criticising

every mouthful, my thoughts involuntarily recurred to the lion

at feeding time. Like those noble animals, I too was used to it,

and it did not affect my appetite. The children here were more

shy than at Tabokan, and I could not persuade them to play. I

therefore turned showman myself, and exhibited the shadow of a

dog's head eating, which pleased them so much that all the

village in succession came out to see it. The "rabbit on the

wall" does not do in Borneo, as there is no animal it resembles.

The boys had tops shaped something like whipping-tops, but spun

with a string.

The next morning we proceeded as before, but the river had become

so rapid and shallow and the boats were all so small, that though

I had nothing with me but a change of clothes, a gun, and a few

cooking utensils, two were required to take me on. The rock

which appeared here and there on the riverbank was an indurated

clay-slate, sometimes crystalline, and thrown up almost

vertically. Right and left of us rose isolated limestone

mountains, their white precipices glistening in the sun and

contrasting beautifully with the luxuriant vegetation that

elsewhere clothed them. The river bed was a mass of pebbles,

mostly pure white quartz, but with abundance of jasper and agate,

presenting a beautifully variegated appearance. It was only ten

in the morning when we arrived at Budu, and, though there were

plenty of people about, I could not induce them to allow me to go

on to the next village. The Orang Kaya said that if I insisted on

having men, of course he would get them, but when I took him at

his word and said I must have them, there came a fresh remonstrance;

and the idea of my going on that day seemed so painful that I was

obliged to submit. I therefore walked out over the rice-fields, which

are here very extensive, covering a number of the little hills and

valleys into which the whole country seems broken up, and obtained a

fine view of hills and mountains in every direction.

In the evening the Orang Kaya came in full dress (a spangled

velvet jacket, but no trowsers), and invited me over to his

house, where he gave me a seat of honour under a canopy of white

calico and coloured handkerchiefs. The great verandah was

crowded with people, and large plates of rice with cooked and

fresh eggs were placed on the ground as presents for me. A very

old man then dressed himself in bright-coloured cloths and many

ornaments, and sitting at the door, murmured a long prayer or

invocation, sprinkling rice from a basin he held in his hand,

while several large gongs were loudly beaten and a salute of

muskets fired off. A large jar of rice wine, very sour but with

an agreeable flavour, was then handed around, and I asked to see

some of their dances. These were, like most savage performances,

very dull and ungraceful affairs; the men dressing themselves

absurdly like women, and the girls making themselves as stiff and

ridiculous as possible. All the time six or eight large Chinese

gongs were being beaten by the vigorous arms of as many young

men, producing such a deafening discord that I was glad to escape

to the round house, where I slept very comfortably with half a

dozen smoke-dried human skulls suspended over my head,

The river was now so shallow that boats could hardly get along. I

therefore preferred walking to the next village, expecting to see

something of the country, but was much disappointed, as the path

lay almost entirely through dense bamboo thickets. The Dyaks get

two crops off the ground in succession; one of rice, and the

other of sugarcane, maize, and vegetables. The ground then lies

fallow eight or ten years, and becomes covered with bamboos and

shrubs, which often completely arch over the path and shut out

everything from the view. Three hours' walking brought us to the

village of Senankan, where I was again obliged to remain the

whole day, which I agreed to do on the promise of the Orang Kaya

that his men should next day take me through two other villages

across to Senna, at the head of the Sarawak River. I amused

myself as I best could till evening, by walking about the high

ground near, to get views of the country and bearings of the

chief mountains. There was then another public audience, with

gifts of rice and eggs, and drinking of rice wine. These Dyaks

cultivate a great extent of ground, and supply a good deal of

rice to Sarawak. They are rich in gongs, brass trays, wire,

silver coins, and other articles in which a Dyak's wealth

consists; and their women and children are all highly ornamented

with bead necklaces, shells, and brass wire.

In the morning I waited some time, but the men that were to

accompany me did not make their appearance. On sending to the

Orang Kaya I found that both he and another head-man had gone out

for the day, and on inquiring the reason was told that they could

not persuade any of their men to go with me because the journey

was long and fatiguing one. As I was determined to get on, I told

the few men that remained that the chiefs had behaved very badly,

and that I should acquaint the Rajah with their conduct, and I

wanted to start immediately. Every man present made some excuse,

but others were sent for, and by hint of threats and promises,

and the exertion of all Bujon's eloquence, we succeeded in

getting off after two hours' delay.

For the first few miles our path lay over a country cleared for

rice-fields, consisting entirely of small but deep and sharply-

cut ridges and valleys without a yard of level ground. After

crossing the Kayan river, a main branch of the Sadong, we got on

to the lower slopes of the Seboran Mountain, and the path lay

along a sharp and moderately steep ridge, affording an excellent

view of the country. Its features were exactly those of the

Himalayas in miniature, as they are described by Dr. Hooker and

other travellers, and looked like a natural model of some parts

of those vast mountains on a scale of about a tenth--thousands of

feet being here represented by hundreds. I now discovered the

source of the beautiful pebbles which had so pleased me in the

riverbed. The slatey rocks had ceased, and these mountains seemed

to consist of a sandstone conglomerate, which was in some places

a mere mass of pebbles cemented together. I might have known that

such small streams could not produce such vast quantities of

well-rounded pebbles of the very hardest materials. They had

evidently been formed in past ages, by the action of some

continental stream or seabeach, before the great island of Borneo

had risen from the ocean. The existence of such a system of hills

and valleys reproducing in miniature all the features of a great

mountain region, has an important bearing on the modern theory

that the form of the ground is mainly due to atmospheric rather

than to subterranean action. When we have a number of branching

valleys and ravines running in many different directions within a

square mile, it seems hardly possible to impute their formation,

or even their origination, to rents and fissures produced by

earthquakes. On the other hand, the nature of the rock, so easily

decomposed and removed by water, and the known action of the

abundant tropical rains, are in this case, at least, quite

sufficient causes for the production of such valleys. But the

resemblance between their forms and outlines, their mode of

divergence, and the slopes and ridges that divide them, and those

of the grand mountain scenery of the Himalayas, is so remarkable,

that we are forcibly led to the conclusion that the forces at

work in the two cases have been the same, differing only in the

time they have been in action, and the nature of the material

they have had to work upon.

About noon we reached the village of Menyerry, beautifully

situated on a spur of the mountain about 600 feet above the

valley, and affording a delightful view of the mountains of this

part of Borneo. I here got a sight of Penrissen Mountain, at the

head of the Sarawak River, and one of the highest in the

district, rising to about 6,000 feet above the sea. To the south

the Rowan, and further off the Untowan Mountains in the Dutch

territory appeared equally lofty. Descending from Menyerry we

again crossed the Kayan, which bends round the spur, and ascended

to the pass which divides the Sadong and Sarawak valleys, and

which is about 2,000 feet high. The descent from this point was

very fine. A stream, deep in a rocky gorge, rushed on each side

of us, to one of which we gradually descended, passing over many

lateral gullys and along the faces of some precipices by means

of native bamboo bridges. Some of these were several hundred feet

long and fifty or sixty high, a single smooth bamboo four inches

diameter forming the only pathway, while a slender handrail of

the same material was often so shaky that it could only be used as

a guide rather than a support.

Late in the afternoon we reached Sodos, situated on a spur

between two streams, but so surrounded by fruit trees that little

could be seen of the country. The house was spacious, clean and

comfortable, and the people very obliging. Many of the women and

children had never seen a white man before, and were very

sceptical as to my being the same colour all over, as my face.

They begged me to show them my arms and body, and they were so

kind and good-tempered that I felt bound to give them some

satisfaction, so I turned up my trousers and let them see the

colour of my leg, which they examined with great interest.

In the morning early we continued our descent along a fine

valley, with mountains rising 2,000 or 3,000 feet in every

direction. The little river rapidly increased in size until we

reached Serma, when it had become a fine pebbly stream navigable

for small canoes. Here again the upheaved slatey rock appeared,

with the same dip and direction as in the Sadong River. On

inquiring for a boat to take me down the stream, I was told that

the Senna Dyaks, although living on the river-banks, never made

or used boats. They were mountaineers who had only come down into

the valley about twenty years before, and had not yet got into

new habits. They are of the same tribe as the people of Menyerry

and Sodos. They make good paths and bridges, and cultivate much

mountain land, and thus give a more pleasing and civilized aspect

to the country than where the people move about only in boats,

and confine their cultivation to the banks of the streams.

After some trouble I hired a boat from a Malay trader, and found

three Dyaks who had been several times with Malays to Sarawak,

and thought they could manage it very well. They turned out very

awkward, constantly running aground, striking against rocks, and

losing their balance so as almost to upset themselves and the

boat--offering a striking contrast to the skill of the Sea Dyaks.

At length we came to a really dangerous rapid where boats were

often swamped, and my men were afraid to pass it. Some Malays

with a boatload of rice here overtook us, and after safely

passing down kindly sent back one of their men to assist me. As

it was, my Dyaks lost their balance in the critical part of the

passage, and had they been alone would certainly have upset the

boat. The river now became exceedingly picturesque, the ground on

each side being partially cleared for ricefields, affording a

good view of the country. Numerous little granaries were built

high up in trees overhanging the river, and having a bamboo

bridge sloping up to them from the bank; and here and there

bamboo suspension bridge crossed the stream, where overhanging

trees favoured their construction.

I slept that night in the village of the Sebungow Dyaks, and the

next day reached Sarawak, passing through a most beautiful

country where limestone mountains with their fantastic forms and

white precipices slot up on every side, draped and festooned with

a luxuriant vegetation. The banks of the Sarawak River are

everywhere covered with fruit trees, which supply the Dyaks with

a great deal of their food. The Mangosteen, Lansat, Rambutan,

Jack, Jambou, and Blimbing, are all abundant; but most abundant

and most esteemed is the Durian, a fruit about which very little

is known in England, but which both by natives and Europeans in

the Malay Archipelago is reckoned superior to all others. The old

traveller Linschott, writing in 1599, says: "It is of such an

excellent taste that it surpasses in flavour all the other fruits

of the world, according to those who have tasted it." And Doctor

Paludanus adds: "This fruit is of a hot and humid nature. To

those not used to it, it seems at first to smell like rotten

onions, but immediately when they have tasted it, they prefer it

to all other food. The natives give it honourable titles, exalt it,

and make verses on it." When brought into a house the smell is often

so offensive that some persons can never bear to taste it. This

was my own case when I first tried it in Malacca, but in Borneo I

found a ripe fruit on the ground, and, eating it out of doors, I

at once became a confirmed Durian eater.

The Durian grows on a large and lofty forest tree, somewhat

resembling an elm in its general character, but with a more

smooth and scaly bark. The fruit is round or slightly oval, about

the size of a large cocoanut, of a green colour, and covered all

over with short stout spines the bases of which touch each other,

and are consequently somewhat hexagonal, while the points are

very strong and sharp. It is so completely armed, that if the

stalk is broken off it is a difficult matter to lift one from the

ground. The outer rind is so thick and tough, that from whatever

height it may fall it is never broken. From the base to the apex

five very faint lines may be traced, over which the spines arch a

little; these are the sutures of the carpels, and show where the

fruit may be divided with a heavy knife and a strong hand. The

five cells are satiny white within, and are each filled with an

oval mass of cream-coloured pulp, imbedded in which are two or

three seeds about the size of chestnuts. This pulp is the eatable

part, and its consistency and flavour are indescribable. A rich

butter-like custard highly flavoured with almonds gives the best

general idea of it, but intermingled with it come wafts of

flavour that call to mind cream-cheese, onion-sauce, brown

sherry, and other incongruities. Then there is a rich glutinous

smoothness in the pulp which nothing else possesses, but which

adds to its delicacy. It is neither acid, nor sweet, nor juicy;

yet one feels the want of more of these qualities, for it is

perfect as it is. It produces no nausea or other bad effect, and

the more you eat of it the less you feel inclined to stop. In

fact to eat Durians is a new sensation, worth a voyage to the

East to experience.

When the fruit is ripe it falls of itself, and the only way to

eat Durians in perfection is to get them as they fall; and the

smell is then less overpowering. When unripe, it makes a very

good vegetable if cooked, and it is also eaten by the Dyaks raw.

In a good fruit season large quantities are preserved salted, in

jars and bamboos, and kept the year round, when it acquires a

most disgusting odour to Europeans, but the Dyaks appreciate

it highly as a relish with their rice. There are in the forest

two varieties of wild Durians with much smaller fruits, one of

them orange-coloured inside; and these are probably the origin of

the large and fine Durians, which are never found wild. It would

not, perhaps, be correct to say that the Durian is the best of

all fruits, because it cannot supply the place of the subacid

juicy kinds, such as the orange, grape, mango, and mangosteen,

whose refreshing and cooling qualities are so wholesome and

grateful; but as producing a food of the most exquisite flavour,

it is unsurpassed. If I had to fix on two only, as representing

the perfection of the two classes, I should certainly choose the

Durian and the Orange as the king and queen of fruits.

The Durian is, however, sometimes dangerous. When the fruit

begins to ripen it falls daily and almost hourly, and accidents

not unfrequently happen to persons walking or working under the

trees. When a Durian strikes a man in its fall, it produces a

dreadful wound, the strong spines tearing open the flesh, while

the blow itself is very heavy; but from this very circumstance

death rarely ensues, the copious effusion of blood preventing the

inflammation which might otherwise take place. A Dyak chief

informed me that he had been struck down by a Durian falling on

his head, which he thought would certainly have caused his death,

yet he recovered in a very short time.

Poets and moralists, judging from our English trees and fruits,

have thought that small fruits always grew on lofty trees, so

that their fall should be harmless to man, while the large ones

trailed on the ground. Two of the largest and heaviest fruits

known, however, the Brazil-nut fruit (Bertholletia) and Durian,

grow on lofty forest trees, from which they fall as soon as they

are ripe, and often wound or kill the native inhabitants. From

this we may learn two things: first, not to draw general

conclusions from a very partial view of nature; and secondly,

that trees and fruits, no less than the varied productions of the

animal kingdom, do not appear to be organized with exclusive

reference to the use and convenience of man.

During my many journeys in Borneo, and especially during my

various residences among the Dyaks, I first came to appreciate

the admirable qualities of the Bamboo. In those parts of South

America which I had previously visited, these gigantic grasses

were comparatively scarce; and where found but little used, their

place being taken as to one class of uses by the great variety of

Palms, and as to another by calabashes and gourds. Almost all

tropical countries produce Bamboos, and wherever they are found

in abundance the natives apply them to a variety of uses. Their

strength, lightness, smoothness, straightness, roundness and

hollowness, the facility and regularity with which they can be

split, their many different sizes, the varying length of their

joints, the ease with which they can be cut and with which holes

can be made through them, their hardness outside, their freedom

from any pronounced taste or smell, their great abundance, and

the rapidity of their growth and increase, are all qualities

which render them useful for a hundred different purposes, to

serve which other materials would require much more labour and

preparation. The Bamboo is one of the most wonderful and most

beautiful productions of the tropics, and one of nature's most

valuable gifts to uncivilized man.

The Dyak houses are all raised on posts, and are often two or

three hundred feet long and forty or fifty wide. The floor is

always formed of strips split from large Bamboos, so that each

may be nearly flat and about three inches wide, and these are

firmly tied down with rattan to the joists beneath. When well

made, this is a delightful floor to walk upon barefooted, the

rounded surfaces of the bamboo being very smooth and agreeable to

the feet, while at the same time affording a firm hold. But, what

is more important, they form with a mat over them an excellent

bed, the elasticity of the Bamboo and its rounded surface being

far superior to a more rigid and a flatter floor. Here we at once

find a use for Bamboo which cannot be supplied so well by another

material without a vast amount of labour--palms and other

substitutes requiring much cutting and smoothing, and not being

equally good when finished. When, however, a flat, close floor is

required, excellent boards are made by splitting open large

Bamboos on one side only, and flattening them out so as to form

slabs eighteen inches wide and six feet long, with which some

Dyaks floor their houses. These with constant rubbing of the feet

and the smoke of years become dark and polished, like walnut or

old oak, so that their real material can hardly be recognised.

What labour is here saved to a savage whose only tools are an axe

and a knife, and who, if he wants boards, must hew them out of

the solid trunk of a tree, and must give days and weeks of labour

to obtain a surface as smooth and beautiful as the Bamboo thus

treated affords him. Again, if a temporary house is wanted,

either by the native in his plantation or by the traveller in the

forest, nothing is so convenient as the Bamboo, with which a

house can be constructed with a quarter of the labour and time

than if other materials are used.

As I have already mentioned, the Hill Dyaks in the interior of

Sarawak make paths for long distances from village to village and

to their cultivated grounds, in the course of which they have to

cross many gullies and ravines, and even rivers; or sometimes, to

avoid a long circuit, to carry the path along the face of a

precipice. In all these cases the bridges they construct are of

Bamboo, and so admirably adapted is the material for this

purpose, that it seems doubtful whether they ever would have

attempted such works if they had not possessed it. The Dyak

bridge is simple but well designed. It consists merely of stout

Bamboos crossing each other at the road-way like the letter X,

and rising a few feet above it. At the crossing they are firmly

bound together, and to a large Bamboo which lays upon them and

forms the only pathway, with a slender and often very shaky one

to serve as a handrail. When a river is to be crossed, an

overhanging tree is chosen from which the bridge is partly

suspended and partly supported by diagonal struts from the banks,

so as to avoid placing posts in the stream itself, which would be

liable to be carried away by floods. In carrying a path along the

face of a precipice, trees and roots are made use of for

suspension; struts arise from suitable notches or crevices in the

rocks, and if these are not sufficient, immense Bamboos fifty or

sixty feet long are fixed on the banks or on the branch of a tree

below. These bridges are traversed daily by men and women

carrying heavy loads, so that any insecurity is soon discovered,

and, as the materials are close at hand, immediately repaired.

When a path goes over very steep ground, and becomes slippery in

very wet or very dry weather, the Bamboo is used in another way.

Pieces are cut about a yard long, and opposite notches being made

at each end, holes are formed through which pegs are driven, and

firm and convenient steps are thus formed with the greatest ease

and celerity. It is true that much of this will decay in one or

two seasons, but it can be so quickly replaced as to make it more

economical than using a harder and more durable wood.

One of the most striking uses to which Bamboo is applied by the

Dyaks, is to assist them in climbing lofty trees by driving in

pegs in the way I have already described at page 85. This method

is constantly used in order to obtain wax, which is one of the

most valuable products of the country. The honey-bee of Borneo

very generally hangs its combs under the branches of the Tappan,

a tree which towers above all others in the forest, and whose

smooth cylindrical trunk often rises a hundred feet without a

branch. The Dyaks climb these lofty trees at night, building up

their Bamboo ladder as they go, and bringing down gigantic

honeycombs. These furnish them with a delicious feast of honey

and young bees, besides the wax, which they sell to traders, and

with the proceeds buy the much-coveted brass wire, earrings, and

bold-edged handkerchiefs with which they love to decorate

themselves. In ascending Durian and other fruit trees which

branch at from thirty to fifty feet from the ground, I have seen

them use the Bamboo pegs only, without the upright Bamboo which

renders them so much more secure.

The outer rind of the Bamboo, split and shaved thin, is the

strongest material for baskets; hen-coops, bird-cages, and

conical fish-traps are very quickly made from a single joint, by

splitting off the skin in narrow strips left attached to one end,

while rings of the same material or of rattan are twisted in at

regular distances. Water is brought to the houses by little

aqueducts formed of large Bamboos split in half and supported on

crossed sticks of various heights so as to give it a regular

fall. Thin long-jointed Bamboos form the Dyaks' only water-

vessels, and a dozen of them stand in the corner of every house.

They are clean, light, and easily carried, and are in many ways

superior to earthen vessels for the same purpose. They also make

excellent cooking utensils; vegetables and rice can be boiled in

them to perfection, and they are often used when travelling.

Salted fruit or fish, sugar, vinegar, and honey are preserved in

them instead of in jars or bottles. In a small Bamboo case,

prettily carved and ornamented, the Dyak carries his sirih and

lime for betel chewing, and his little long-bladed knife has a

Bamboo sheath. His favourite pipe is a huge hubble-bubble, which

he will construct in a few minutes by inserting a small piece of

Bamboo for a bowl obliquely into a large cylinder about six

inches from the bottom containing water, through which the smoke

passes to a long slender Bamboo tube. There are many other small

matters for which Bamboo is daily used, but enough has now been

mentioned to show its value. In other parts of the Archipelago I

have myself seen it applied to many new uses, and it is probable

that my limited means of observation did not make me acquainted

with one-half the ways in which it is serviceable to the Dyaks of


While upon the subject of plants I may here mention a few of the

more striking vegetable productions of Borneo. The wonderful

Pitcher-plants, forming the genus Nepenthes of botanists, here

reach their greatest development. Every mountain-top abounds with

them, running along the ground, or climbing over shrubs and

stunted trees; their elegant pitchers hanging in every direction.

Some of these are long and slender, resembling in form the

beautiful Philippine lace-sponge (Euplectella), which has now

become so common; others are broad and short. Their colours are

green, variously tinted and mottled with red or purple. The

finest yet known were obtained on the summit of Kini-balou, in

North-west Borneo. One of the broad sort, Nepenthes rajah, will

hold two quarts of water in its pitcher. Another, Nepenthes

Edwardsiania, has a narrow pitcher twenty inches long; while the

plant itself grows to a length of twenty feet.

Ferns are abundant, but are not so varied as on the volcanic

mountains of Java; and Tree-ferns are neither so plentiful nor so

large as on that island. They grow, however, quite down to the

level of the sea, and are generally slender and graceful plants

from eight to fifteen feet high. Without devoting much time to

the search I collected fifty species of Ferns in Borneo, and I

have no doubt a good botanist would have obtained twice the

number. The interesting group of Orchids is very abundant, but,

as is generally the case, nine-tenths of the species have small

and inconspicuous flowers. Among the exceptions are the fine

Coelogynes, whose large clusters of yellow flowers ornament the

gloomiest forests, and that most extraordinary plant, Vanda

Lowii, which last is particularly abundant near some hot springs

at the foot of the Penin-jauh Mountain. It grows on the lower

branches of trees, and its us strange pendant flower-spires often

hang down so as almost to reach the ground. These are generally

six or eight feet long, bearing large and handsome flowers three

inches across, and varying in colour from orange to red, with

deep purple-red spots. I measured one spike, which reached the

extraordinary length of nine feet eight inches, and bore thirty-

six flowers, spirally arranged upon a slender thread-like stalk.

Specimens grown in our English hot-houses have produced flower-

spires of equal length, and with a much larger number of


Flowers were scarce, as is usual in equatorial forests, and it

was only at rare intervals that I met with anything striking. A

few fine climbers were sometimes seen, especially a handsome

crimson and yellow Aeschynanthus, and a fine leguminous plant

with clusters of large Cassia-like flowers of a rich purple

colour. Once I found a number of small Anonaceous trees of the

genus Polyalthea, producing a most striking effect in the gloomy

forest shades. They were about thirty feet high, and their

slender trunks were covered with large star-like crimson flowers,

which clustered over them like garlands, and resembled some

artificial decoration more than a natural product.

The forests abound with gigantic trees with cylindrical,

buttressed, or furrowed stems, while occasionally the traveller

comes upon a wonderful fig-tree, whose trunk is itself a forest

of stems and aerial roots. Still more rarely are found trees

which appear to have begun growing in mid-air, and from the same

point send out wide-spreading branches above and a complicated

pyramid of roots descending for seventy or eighty feet to the

ground below, and so spreading on every side, that one can stand

in the very centre with the trunk of the tree immediately

overhead. Trees of this character are found all over the

Archipelago, and the accompanying illustration (taken from one

which I often visited in the Aru Islands) will convey some idea

of their general character. I believe that they originate as

parasites, from seeds carried by birds and dropped in the fork of

some lofty tree. Hence descend aerial roots, clasping and

ultimately destroying the supporting tree, which is in time

entirely replaced by the humble plant which was at first

dependent upon it. Thus we have an actual struggle for life in

the vegetable kingdom, not less fatal to the vanquished than the

struggles among animals which we can so much more easily observe

and understand. The advantage of quicker access to light and

warmth and air, which is gained in one way by climbing plants, is

here obtained by a forest tree, which has the means of starting

in life at an elevation which others can only attain after many

years of growth, and then only when the fall of some other tree

has made room for then. Thus it is that in the warm and moist and

equable climate of the tropics, each available station is seized

upon and becomes the means of developing new forms of life

especially adapted to occupy it.

On reaching Sarawak early in December, I found there would not be

an opportunity of returning to Singapore until the latter end of

January. I therefore accepted Sir James Brooke's invitation to

spend a week with him and Mr. St. John at his cottage on Peninjauh.

This is a very steep pyramidal mountain of crystalline

basaltic rock, about a thousand feet high, and covered with

luxuriant forest. There are three Dyak villages upon it, and on a

little platform near the summit is the rude wooden lodge where

the English Rajah was accustomed to go for relaxation and cool

fresh air. It is only twenty miles up the river, but the road up

the mountain is a succession of ladders on the face of

precipices, bamboo bridges over gullies and chasms, and slippery

paths over rocks and tree-trunks and huge boulders as big as

houses. A cool spring under an overhanging rock just below the

cottage furnished us with refreshing baths and delicious drinking

water, and the Dyaks brought us daily heaped-up baskets of

Mangosteens and Lansats, two of the most delicious of the subacid

tropical fruits. We returned to Sarawak for Christmas (the second

I had spent with Sir James Brooke), when all the Europeans both

in the town and from the out-stations enjoyed the hospitality of

the Rajah, who possessed in a pre-eminent degree the art of

making every one around him comfortable and happy.

A few days afterwards I returned to the mountain with Charles and

a Malay boy named Ali and stayed there three weeks for the

purpose of making a collection of land-shells, butterflies and

moths, ferns and orchids. On the hill itself ferns were tolerably

plentiful, and I made a collection of about forty species. But

what occupied me most was the great abundance of moths which on

certain occasions I was able to capture. As during the whole of

my eight years' wanderings in the East I never found another spot

where these insects were at all plentiful, it will be interesting

to state the exact conditions under which I here obtained them.

On one side of the cottage there was a verandah, looking down

the whole side of the mountain and to its summit on the right,

all densely clothed with forest. The boarded sides of the cottage

were whitewashed, and the roof of the verandah was low, and also

boarded and whitewashed. As soon as it got dark I placed my lamp

on a table against the wall, and with pins, insect-forceps, net,

and collecting-boxes by my side, sat down with a book. Sometimes

during the whole evening only one solitary moth would visit me,

while on other nights they would pour in, in a continual stream,

keeping me hard at work catching and pinning till past midnight.

They came literally by the thousands. These good nights were very

few. During the four weeks that I spent altogether on the hill I

only had four really good nights, and these were always rainy,

and the best of them soaking wet. But wet nights were not always

good, for a rainy moonlight night produced next to nothing. All

the chief tribes of moths were represented, and the beauty and

variety of the species was very great. On good nights I was able

to capture from a hundred to two hundred and fifty moths, and these

comprised on each occasion from half to two-thirds that number of

distinct species. Some of them would settle on the wall, some on

the table, while many would fly up to the roof and give me a chase

all over the verandah before I could secure them. In order to show

the curious connection between the state of weather and the degree

in which moths were attracted to light, I add a list of my captures

each night of my stay on the hill.


Date (1855)    No. of Moths 	   Remarks


Dec. 13th             1    	Fine; starlight.

     14th            75   	Drizzly and fog.

     15th            41    	Showery; cloudy.

     16th           158    	(120 species.) Steady rain.

     17th            82    	Wet; rather moonlight.

     18th             9    	Fine; moonlight.

     19th             2    	Fine; clear moonlight.

     31st           200    	(130 species.) Dark and windy; 

                           	heavy rain.

Date (1856)

Jan. 1st            185    	Very wet.

     2d              68     	Cloudy and showers.

     3d              50     	Cloudy.

     4th             12     	Fine.

     5th             10     	Fine.

     6th              8     	Very fine.

     7th              8     	Very fine.

     8th             10     	Fine.

     9th             36     	Showery.

    10th             30     	Showery.

    11th            260    	Heavy rain all night, and dark.

    12th             56     	Showery.

    13th             44     	Showery; some moonlight.

    14th              4     	Fine; moonlight.

    15th             24     	Rain; moonlight.

    16th              6    	Showers; moonlight.

    17th              6    	Showers; moonlight.

    18th              1    	Showers; moonlight.

Total             1,386  

It thus appears that on twenty-six nights I collected 1,386

moths, but that more than 800 of them were collected on four very

wet and dark nights. My success here led me to hope that, by

similar arrangements, I might on every island be able to obtain an

abundance of these insects; but, strange to say, during the six

succeeding years, I was never once able to make any collections at

all approaching those at Sarawak. The reason for this I can pretty

well understand to be owing to the absence of some one or other

essential condition that were here all combined. Sometimes the

dry season was the hindrance; more frequently residence in a town

or village not close to virgin forest, and surrounded by other

houses whose lights were a counter-attraction; still more

frequently residence in a dark palm-thatched house, with a lofty

roof, in whose recesses every moth was lost the instant it

entered. This last was the greatest drawback, and the real reason

why I never again was able to make a collection of moths; for I

never afterwards lived in a solitary jungle-house with a low

boarded and whitewashed verandah, so constructed as to prevent

insects at once escaping into the upper part of the house, quite

out of reach.

After my long experience, my numerous failures, and my one success,

I feel sure that if any party of naturalists ever make a yacht-voyage

to explore the Malayan Archipelago, or any other tropical region,

making entomology one of their chief pursuits, it would well repay

them to carry a small framed verandah, or a verandah-shaped tent

of white canvas, to set up in every favourable situation, as a means

of making a collection of nocturnal Lepidoptera, and also of obtaining

rare specimens of Coleoptera and other insects. I make the suggestion

here, because no one would suspect the enormous difference in results

that such an apparatus would produce; and because I consider it one

of the curiosities of a collector's experience, to have found out

that some such apparatus is required.

When I returned to Singapore I took with me the Malay lad named

Ali, who subsequently accompanied me all over the Archipelago.

Charles Allen preferred staying at the Mission-house, and

afterwards obtained employment in Sarawak and in Singapore, until

he again joined me four years later at Amboyna in the Moluccas.



THE manners and customs of the aborigines of Borneo have been

described in great detail, and with much fuller information than I

possess, in the writings of Sir James Brooke, Messrs. Low, St. John,

Johnson Brooke, and many others. I do not propose to go over the

ground again, but shall confine myself to a sketch, from personal

observation, of the general character of the Dyaks, and of such

physical, moral, and social characteristics as have been less

frequently noticed.

The Dyak is closely allied to the Malay, and more remotely to the

Siamese, Chinese, and other Mongol races. All these are characterised

by a reddish-brown or yellowish-brown skin of various shades, by jet-

black straight hair, by the scanty or deficient beard, by the rather

small and broad nose, and high cheekbones; but none of the Malayan

races have the oblique eyes which are characteristic of the more

typical Mongols. The average stature of the Dyaks is rather more than

that of the Malays, while it is considerably under that of most

Europeans. Their forms are well proportioned, their feet and hands

small, and they rarely or never attain the bulk of body so often seen

in Malays and Chinese.

I am inclined to rank the Dyaks above the Malays in mental capacity,

while in moral character they are undoubtedly superior to them. They

are simple and honest, and become the prey of the Malay and Chinese

trailers, who cheat and plunder them continually. They are more

lively, more talkative, less secretive, and less suspicious than the

Malay, and are therefore pleasanter companions. The Malay boys have

little inclination for active sports and games, which form quite a

feature in the life of the Dyak youths, who, besides outdoor games of

skill and strength, possess a variety of indoor amusements. One wet

day, in a Dyak house, when a number of boys and young men were about

me, I thought to amuse them with something new, and showed them how

to make "cat's cradle" with a piece of string. Greatly to my

surprise, they knew all about it, and more than I did; for, after

Charles and I had gone through all the changes we could make, one of

the boys took it off my hand, and made several new figures which

quite puzzled me. They then showed me a number of other tricks with

pieces of string, which seemed a favourite amusement with them.

Even these apparently trifling matters may assist us to form a truer

estimate of the Dyaks' character and social condition. We learn

thereby, that these people have passed beyond that first stage of

savage life in which the struggle for existence absorbs all of the

faculties, and in which every thought and idea is connected with war

or hunting, or the provision for their immediate necessities. These

amusements indicate a capability of civilization, an aptitude to

enjoy other than mere sensual pleasures, which night be taken

advantage of to elevate their whole intellectual and social life.

The moral character of the Dyaks is undoubtedly high--a statement

which will seem strange to those who have heard of them only as

head-hunters and pirates. The Hill Dyaks of whom I am speaking,

however, have never been pirates, since they never go near the sea;

and head-hunting is a custom originating in the petty wars of village

with village, and tribe with tribe, which no more implies a bad moral

character than did the custom of the slave-trade a hundred years ago

imply want of general morality in all who participated in it. Against

this one stain on their character (which in the case of the Sarawak

Dyaks no longer exists) we have to set many good points. They are

truthful and honest to a remarkable degree. From this cause it is

very often impossible to get from them any definite information, or

even an opinion. They say, "If I were to tell yon what I don't know,

I might tell a lie;" and whenever they voluntarily relate any matter

of fact, you may be sure they are speaking the truth. In a Dyak

village the fruit trees have each their owner, and it has often

happened to me, on asking an inhabitant to gather me some fruit, to

be answered, "I can't do that, for the owner of the tree is not

here;" never seeming to contemplate the possibility of acting

otherwise. Neither will they take the smallest thing belonging to an

European. When living at Simunjon, they continually came to my house,

and would pick up scraps of torn newspaper or crooked pins that I had

thrown away, and ask as a great favour whether they might have them.

Crimes of violence (other than head-hunting) are almost unknown; for

in twelve years, under Sir James Brooke's rule, there had been only

one case of murder in a Dyak tribe, and that one was committed by a

stranger who had been adopted into the tribe. In several other

matters of morality they rank above most uncivilized, and even above

many civilized nations. They are temperate in food and drink, and the

gross sensuality of the Chinese and Malays is unknown among them.

They have the usual fault of all people in a half-savage state--

apathy and dilatoriness, but, however annoying this may be to

Europeans who come in contact with them, it cannot be considered a

very grave offence, or be held to outweigh their many excellent


During my residence among the Hill Dyaks, I was much struck by the

apparent absence of those causes which are generally supposed to

check the increase of population, although there were plain

indications of stationary or but slowly increasing numbers. The

conditions most favourable to a rapid increase of population are: an

abundance of food, a healthy climate, and early marriages. Here these

conditions all exist. The people produce far more food than they

consume, and exchange the surplus for gongs and brass cannon, ancient

jars, and gold and silver ornaments, which constitute their wealth.

On the whole, they appear very free from disease, marriages take

place early (but not too early), and old bachelors and old maids are

alike unknown. Why, then, we must inquire, has not a greater

population been produced? Why are the Dyak villages so small and so

widely scattered, while nine-tenths of the country is still covered

with forest?

Of all the checks to population among savage nations mentioned by

Malthus--starvation, disease, war, infanticide, immorality, and

infertility of the women--the last is that which he seems to think

least important, and of doubtful efficacy; and yet it is the only one

that seems to me capable of accounting for the state of the

population among the Sarawak Dyaks. The population of Great Britain

increases so as to double itself in about fifty years. To do this it

is evident that each married couple must average three children who

live to be married at the age of about twenty-five. Add to these

those who die in infancy, those who never marry, or those who marry

late in life and have no offspring, the number of children born to

each marriage must average four or five, and we know that families

of seven or eight are very common, and of ten and twelve by no means

rare. But from inquiries at almost every Dyak tribe I visited, I

ascertained that the women rarely had more than three or four

children, and an old chief assured me that he had never known a woman

to have more than seven.

In a village consisting of a hundred and fifty families, only one

consisted of six children living, and only six of five children,

the majority of families appearing to be two, three, or four.

Comparing this with the known proportions in European countries,

it is evident that the number of children to each marriage can hardly

average more than three or four; and as even in civilized countries

half the population die before the age of twenty-five, we should have

only two left to replace their parents; and so long as this state of

things continued, the population must remain stationary. Of course

this is a mere illustration; but the facts I have stated seem to

indicate that something of the kind really takes place; and if so,

there is no difficulty in understanding the smallness and almost

stationary population of the Dyak tribes.

We have next to inquire what is the cause of the small number of

births and of living children in a family. Climate and race may have

something to do with this, but a more real and efficient cause seems

to me to be the hard labour of the women, and the heavy weights they

constantly carry. A Dyak woman generally spends the whole day in the

field, and carries home every night a heavy load of vegetables and

firewood, often for several miles, over rough and hilly paths; and

not unfrequently has to climb up a rocky mountain by ladders, and

over slippery steppingstones, to an elevation of a thousand feet.

Besides this, she has an hour's work every evening to pound the rice

with a heavy wooden stamper, which violently strains every part of

the body. She begins this kind of labour when nine or ten years old,

and it never ceases but with the extreme decrepitude of age. Surely

we need not wonder at the limited number of her progeny, but rather

be surprised at the successful efforts of nature to prevent the

extermination of the race.

One of the surest and most beneficial effects of advancing

civilization, will be the amelioration of the condition of these

women. The precept and example of higher races will make the Dyak

ashamed of his comparatively idle life, while his weaker partner

labours like a beast of burthen. As his wants become increased and

his tastes refined, the women will have more household duties to

attend to, and will then cease to labour in the field--a change which

has already to a great extent taken place in the allied Malay,

Javanese, and Bugis tribes. Population will then certainly increase

more rapidly, improved systems of agriculture and some division of

labour will become necessary in order to provide the means of

existence, and a more complicated social state will take the place of

the simple conditions of society which now occur among them. But,

with the sharper struggle for existence that will then arise, will

the happiness of the people as a whole be increased or diminished?

Will not evil passions be aroused by the spirit of competition, and

crimes and vices, now unknown or dormant, be called into active

existence? These are problems that time alone can solve; but it is to

be hoped that education and a high-class European example may obviate

much of the evil that too often arises in analogous cases, and that we

may at length be able to point to one instance of an uncivilized

people who have not become demoralized, and finally exterminated, by

contact with European civilization.

A few words in conclusion, about the government of Sarawak. Sir James

Brooke found the Dyaks oppressed and ground down by the most cruel

tyranny. They were cheated by the Malay traders and robbed by the

Malay chiefs. Their wives and children were often captured and sold

into slavery, and hostile tribes purchased permission from their

cruel rulers to plunder, enslave, and murder them. Anything like

justice or redress for these injuries was utterly unattainable. From

the time Sir James obtained possession of the country, all this was

stopped. Equal justice was awarded to Malay, Chinaman, and Dyak. The

remorseless pirates from the rivers farther east were punished, and

finally shut up within their own territories, and the Dyak, for the

first time, could sleep in peace. His wife and children were now

safe from slavery; his house was no longer burned over his head; his

crops and his fruits were now his own to sell or consume as he

pleased. And the unknown stranger who had done all this for them, and

asked for nothing in return, what could he be? How was it possible

for them to realize his motives? Was it not natural that they should

refuse to believe he was a man? For of pure benevolence combined with

great power, they had had no experience among men. They naturally

concluded that he was a superior being, come down upon earth to

confer blessings on the afflicted. In many villages where he had not

been seen, I was asked strange questions about him. Was he not as old

as the mountains? Could he not bring the dead to life? And they

firmly believe that he can give them good harvests, and make their

fruit-trees bear an abundant crop.

In forming a proper estimate of Sir James Brooke's government it must

ever be remembered that he held Sarawak solely by the goodwill of the

native inhabitant. He had to deal with two races, one of whom, the

Mahometan Malays, looked upon the other race, the Dyaks, as savages

and slaves, only fit to be robbed and plundered. He has effectually

protected the Dyaks, and has invariably treated them as, in his

sight, equal to the Malays; and yet he has secured the affection and

goodwill of both. Notwithstanding the religious prejudice, of

Mahometans, he has induced them to modify many of their worst laws

and customs, and to assimilate their criminal code to that of the

civilized world. That his government still continues, after twenty-

seven years--notwithstanding his frequent absences from ill-health,

notwithstanding conspiracies of Malay chiefs, and insurrections of

Chinese gold-diggers, all of which have been overcome by the support

of the native population, and notwithstanding financial, political,

and domestic troubles is due, I believe, solely to the many admirable

qualities which Sir James Brooke possessed, and especially to his

having convinced the native population, by every action of his life,

that he ruled them, not for his own advantage, but for their good.

Since these lines were written, his noble spirit has passed away.

But though, by those who knew him not, he may be sneered at as an

enthusiastic adventurer, abused as a hard-hearted despot, the universal

testimony of everyone who came in contact with him in his adopted

country, whether European, Malay, or Dyak, will be, that Rajah Brooke

was a great, a wise, and a good ruler; a true and faithful friend--

a man to be admired for his talents, respected for his honesty and

courage, and loved for his genuine hospitality, his kindness of

disposition, and his tenderness of heart.



I SPENT three months and a half in Java, from July 18th to

October 31st, 1861, and shall briefly describe my own movements,

and my observations of the people and the natural history of the

country. To all those who wish to understand how the Dutch now

govern Java, and how it is that they are enabled to derive a

large annual revenue from it, while the population increases, and

the inhabitants are contented, I recommend the study of Mr.

Money's excellent and interesting work, "How to Manage a Colony."

The main facts and conclusions of that work I most heartily

concur in, and I believe that the Dutch system is the very best

that can be adopted, when a European nation conquers or otherwise

acquires possession of a country inhabited by an industrious but

semi-barbarous people. In my account of Northern Celebes, I shall

show how successfully the same system has been applied to a

people in a very different state of civilization from the

Javanese; and in the meanwhile will state in the fewest words

possible what that system is.

The mode of government now adopted in Java is to retain the whole

series of native rulers, from the village chief up to princes,

who, under the name of Regents, are the heads of districts about

the size of a small English county. With each Regent is placed a

Dutch Resident, or Assistant Resident, who is considered to be

his "elder brother," and whose "orders" take the form of

"recommendations," which are, however, implicitly obeyed. Along

with each Assistant Resident is a Controller, a kind of inspector

of all the lower native rulers, who periodically visits every

village in the district, examines the proceedings of the native

courts, hears complaints against the head-men or other native

chiefs, and superintends the Government plantations. This brings

us to the "culture system," which is the source of all the wealth

the Dutch derive from Java, and is the subject of much abuse in

this country because it is the reverse of "free trade." To

understand its uses and beneficial effects, it is necessary first

to sketch the common results of free European trade with

uncivilized peoples.

Natives of tropical climates have few wants, and, when these are

supplied, are disinclined to work for superfluities without some

strong incitement. With such a people the introduction of any new

or systematic cultivation is almost impossible, except by the

despotic orders of chiefs whom they have been accustomed to obey,

as children obey their parents. The free competition of European

traders, however introduces two powerful inducements to exertion.

Spirits or opium is a temptation too strong for most savages to

resist, and to obtain these he will sell whatever he has, and

will work to get more. Another temptation he cannot resist, is

goods on credit. The trader offers him bay cloths, knives, gongs,

guns, and gunpowder, to be paid for by some crop perhaps not yet

planted, or some product yet in the forest. He has not sufficient

forethought to take only a moderate quantity, and not enough

energy to work early and late in order to get out of debt; and

the consequence is that he accumulates debt upon debt, and often

remains for years, or for life, a debtor and almost a slave. This

is a state of things which occurs very largely in every part of

the world in which men of a superior race freely trade with men

of a lower race. It extends trade no doubt for a time, but it

demoralizes the native, checks true civilization--and does not

lead to any permanent increase in the wealth of the country; so

that the European government of such a country must be carried on

at a loss.

The system introduced by the Dutch was to induce the people,

through their chiefs, to give a portion of their till, to the

cultivation of coffee, sugar, and other valuable products. A

fixed rate of wages--low indeed, but, about equal to that of all

places where European competition has not artificially raised it-

-was paid to the labourers engaged in clearing the ground and

forming the plantations under Government superintendence. The

produce is sold to the Government at a low, fixed price. Out of

the net profit a percentage goes to the chiefs, and the remainder

is divided among the workmen. This surplus in good years is

something considerable. On the whole, the people are well fed and

decently clothed, and have acquired habits of steady industry and

the art of scientific cultivation, which must be of service to

them in the future. It must be remembered, that the Government

expended capital for years before any return was obtained; and if

they now derive a large revenue, it is in a way which is far less

burthensome, and far more beneficial to the people, than any tax

that could be levied.

But although the system may be a good one, and as well adapted to

the development of arts and industry in a half civilized people

as it is to the material advantage of the governing country, it

is not pretended that in practice it is perfectly carried out.

The oppressive and servile relations between chiefs and people,

which have continued for perhaps a thousand years, cannot be at

once abolished; and some evil must result from those relations,

until the spread of education and the gradual infusion of

European blood causes it naturally and insensibly to disappear.

It is said that the Residents, desirous of showing a large

increase in the products of their districts, have sometimes

pressed the people to such continued labour on the plantations

that their rice crops have been materially diminished, and famine

has been the result. If this has happened, it is certainly not a

common thing, and is to be set down to the abuse of the system,

by the want of judgment, or want of humanity in the Resident.

A tale has lately been written in Holland, and translated into

English, entitled "Max Havelaar; or, the "Coffee Auctions of the

Dutch Trading Company," and with our usual one-sidedness in all

relating to the Dutch Colonial System, this work has been

excessively praised, both for its own merits, and for its

supposed crushing exposure of the iniquities of the Dutch

government of Java. Greatly to my surprise, I found it a very

tedious and long-winded story, full of rambling digressions; and

whose only point is to show that the Dutch Residents and

Assistant Residents wink at the extortions of the native princes;

and that in some districts the natives have to do work without

payment, and have their goods taken away from them without

compensation. Every statement of this kind is thickly

interspersed with italics and capital letters; but as the names

are all fictitious, and neither dates, figures, nor details are

ever given, it is impossible to verify or answer them. Even if

not exaggerated, the facts stated are not nearly so bad as those

of the oppression by free-trade indigo-planters, and torturing by

native tax-gatherers under British rule in India, with which the

readers of English newspapers were familiar a few years ago. Such

oppression, however, is not fairly to be imputed in either case

to the particular form of government, but is rather due to the

infirmity of human nature, and to the impossibility of at once

destroying all trace of ages of despotism on the one side, and of

slavish obedience to their chiefs on the other.

It must be remembered, that the complete establishment of the

Dutch power in Java is much more recent than that of our rule in

India, and that there have been several changes of government,

and in the mode of raising revenue. The inhabitants have been so

recently under the rule of their native princes, that it is not

easy at once to destroy the excessive reverence they feel for

their old masters, or to diminish the oppressive exactions which

the latter have always been accustomed to make. There is,

however, one grand test of the prosperity, and even of the

happiness, of a community, which we can apply here--the rate of

increase of the population.

It is universally admitted that when a country increases rapidly

in population, the people cannot be very greatly oppressed or

very badly governed. The present system of raising a revenue by

the cultivation of coffee and sugar, sold to Government at a

fixed price, began in 1832. Just before this, in 1826, the

population by census was 5,500,000, while at the beginning of the

century it was estimated at 3,500,000. In 1850, when the

cultivation system had been in operation eighteen years, the

population by census was over 9,500,000, or an increase of 73 per

cent in twenty-four years. At the last census, in 1865, it

amounted to 14,168,416, an increase of very nearly 50 per cent in

fifteen years--a rate which would double the population in about

twenty-six years. As Java (with Madura) contains about 38,500

geographical square miles, this will give an average of 368

persons to the square mile, just double that of the populous and

fertile Bengal Presidency as given in Thornton's Gazetteer of

India, and fully one-third more than that of Great Britain and

Ireland at the last Census. If, as I believe, this vast

population is on the whole contented and happy, the Dutch

Government should consider well before abruptly changing a system

which has led to such great results.

Taking it as a whole, and surveying it front every point of view,

Java is probably the very finest and most interesting tropical

island in the world. It is not first in size, but it is more than

600 miles long, and from 60 to 120 miles wide, and in area is

nearly equal to England; and it is undoubtedly the most fertile,

the most productive, and the most populous island within the

tropics. Its whole surface is magnificently varied with mountain

and forest scenery. It possesses thirty-eight volcanic mountains,

several of which rise to ten or twelve thousand feet high. Some

of these are in constant activity, and one or other of them

displays almost every phenomenon produced by the action of

subterranean fires, except regular lava streams, which never

occur in Java. The abundant moisture and tropical heat of the

climate causes these mountains to be clothed with luxuriant

vegetation, often to their very summits, while forests and

plantations cover their lower slopes. The animal productions,

especially the birds and insects, are beautiful and varied, and

present many peculiar forms found nowhere else upon the globe.

The soil throughout the island is exceedingly fertile, and all

the productions of the tropics, together with many of the

temperate zones, can be easily cultivated. Java too possesses a

civilization, a history and antiquities of its own, of great

interest. The Brahminical religion flourished in it from an epoch

of unknown antiquity until about the year 1478, when that of

Mahomet superseded it. The former religion was accompanied by a

civilization which has not been equalled by the conquerors; for,

scattered through the country, especially in the eastern part of

it, are found buried in lofty forests, temples, tombs, and

statues of great beauty and grandeur; and the remains of

extensive cities, where the tiger, the rhinoceros, and the wild

bull now roam undisturbed. A modern civilization of another type

is now spreading over the land. Good roads run through the

country from end to end; European and native rulers work

harmoniously together; and life and property are as well secured

as in the best governed states of Europe. I believe, therefore,

that Java may fairly claim to be the finest tropical island in

the world, and equally interesting to the tourist seeking after

new and beautiful scenes; to the naturalist who desires to

examine the variety and beauty of tropical nature; or to the

moralist and the politician who want to solve the problem of how

man may be best governed under new and varied conditions.

The Dutch mail steamer brought me from Ternate to Sourabaya, the

chief town and port in the eastern part of Java, and after a

fortnight spent in packing up and sending off my last

collections, I started on a short journey into the interior.

Travelling in Java is very luxurious but very expensive, the only

way being to hire or borrow a carriage, and then pay half a crown

a mile for post-horses, which are changed at regular posts every

six miles, and will carry you at the rate of ten miles an hour

from one end of the island to the other. Bullock carts or coolies

are required to carry all extra baggage. As this kind of

travelling world not suit my means, I determined on making only a

short journey to the district at the foot of Mount Arjuna, where

I was told there were extensive forests, and where I hoped to be

able to make some good collections. The country for many miles

behind Sourabaya is perfectly flat and everywhere cultivated;

being a delta or alluvial plain, watered by many branching

streams. Immediately around the town the evident signs of wealth

and of an industrious population were very pleasing; but as we

went on, the constant succession of open fields skirted by rows

of bamboos, with here and there the white buildings and a tall

chimney of a sugar-mill, became monotonous. The roads run in

straight lines for several miles at a stretch, and are bordered

by rows of dusty tamarind-trees. At each mile there are little

guardhouses, where a policeman is stationed; and there is a

wooden gong, which by means of concerted signals may be made to

convey information over the country with great rapidity. About

every six or seven miles is the post-house, where the horses are

changed as quickly as were those of the mail in the old coaching

days in England.

I stopped at Modjokerto, a small town about forty miles south of

Sourabaya, and the nearest point on the high road to the district

I wished to visit. I had a letter of introduction to Mr. Ball, an

Englishman, long resident in Java and married to a Dutch lady;

and he kindly invited me to stay with him until I could fix on a

place to suit me. A Dutch Assistant Resident as well as a Regent

or native Javanese prince lived here. The town was neat, and had

a nice open grassy space like a village green, on which stood a

magnificent fig-tree (allied to the Banyan of India, but more

lofty), under whose shade a kind of market is continually held,

and where the inhabitants meet together to lounge and chat. The

day after my arrival, Mr. Ball drove me over to the village of

Modjo-agong, where he was building a house and premises for the

tobacco trade, which is carried on here by a system of native

cultivation and advance purchase, somewhat similar to the indigo

trade in British India. On our way we stayed to look at a

fragment of the ruins of the ancient city of Modjo-pahit,

consisting of two lofty brick masses, apparently the sides of a

gateway. The extreme perfection and beauty of the brickwork

astonished me. The bricks are exceedingly fine and hard, with

sharp angles and true surfaces. They are laid with great

exactness, without visible mortar or cement, yet somehow fastened

together so that the joints are hardly perceptible, and sometimes

the two surfaces coalesce in a most incomprehensible manner.

Such admirable brickwork I have never seen before or since. There

was no sculpture here, but an abundance of bold projections and

finely-worked mouldings. Traces of buildings exist for many miles

in every direction, and almost every road and pathway shows a

foundation of brickwork beneath it--the paved roads of the old

city. In the house of the Waidono or district chief at Modjo-

agong, I saw a beautiful figure carved in high relief out of a

block of lava, and which had been found buried in the ground near

the village. On my expressing a wish to obtain some such

specimen, Mr. B. asked the chief for it, and much to my surprise

he immediately gave it me. It represented the Hindu goddess

Durga, called in Java, Lora Jonggrang (the exalted virgin). She

has eight arms, and stands on the back of a kneeling bull. Her

lower right hand holds the tail of the bull, while the

corresponding left hand grasps the hair of a captive, Dewth

Mahikusor, the personification of vice, who has attempted to slay

her bull. He has a cord round his waist, and crouches at her feet

in an attitude of supplication. The other hands of the goddess

hold, on her right side, a double hook or small anchor, a broad

straight sword, and a noose of thick cord; on her left, a girdle

or armlet of large beads or shells, an unstrung bow, and a

standard or war flag. This deity was a special favourite among

the old Javanese, and her image is often found in the ruined

temples which abound in the eastern part of the island.

The specimen I had obtained was a small one, about two feet high,

weighing perhaps a hundredweight; and the next day we had it

conveyed to Modjo-Kerto to await my return to Sourabaya. Having

decided to stay some time at Wonosalem, on the lower slopes of

the Arjuna Mountain, where I was informed I should find forest

and plenty of game, I had first to obtain a recommendation from

the Assistant Resident to the Regent, and then an order from the

Regent to the Waidono; and when after a week's delay I arrived

with my baggage and men at Modjo-agong, I found them all in the

midst of a five days' feast, to celebrate the circumcision of the

Waidono's younger brother and cousin, and had a small room in an

on outhouse given me to stay in. The courtyard and the great open

reception-shed were full of natives coming and going and making

preparations for a feast which was to take place at midnight, to

which I was invited, but preferred going to bed. A native band,

or Gamelang, was playing almost all the evening, and I had a good

opportunity of seeing the instruments and musicians. The former

are chiefly gongs of various sizes, arranged in sets of from

eight to twelve, on low wooden frames. Each set is played by one

performer with one or two drumsticks. There are also some very

large gongs, played singly or in pairs, and taking the place of

our drums and kettledrums. Other instruments are formed by broad

metallic bars, supported on strings stretched across frames; and

others again of strips of bamboo similarly placed and producing

the highest notes. Besides these there were a flute and a curious

two-stringed violin, requiring in all twenty-four performers.

There was a conductor, who led off and regulated the time, and

each performer took his part, coming in occasionally with a few

bars so as to form a harmonious combination. The pieces played

were long and complicated, and some of the players were mere

boys, who took their parts with great precision. The general

effect was very pleasing, but, owing to the similarity of most of

the instruments, more like a gigantic musical box than one of our

bands; and in order to enjoy it thoroughly it is necessary to

watch the large number of performers who are engaged in it. The

next morning, while I was waiting for the men and horses who were

to take me and my baggage to my destination, the two lads, who

were about fourteen years old, were brought out, clothed in a

sarong from the waist downwards, and having the whole body

covered with yellow powder, and profusely decked with white

blossom in wreaths, necklaces, and armlets, looking at first

sight very like savage brides. They were conducted by two priests

to a bench placed in front of the house in the open air, and the

ceremony of circumcision was then performed before the assembled


The road to Wonosalem led through a magnificent forest in the

depths of which we passed a fine ruin of what appeared to have

been a royal tomb or mausoleum. It is formed entirely of stone,

and elaborately carved. Near the base is a course of boldly

projecting blocks, sculptured in high relief, with a series of

scenes which are probably incidents in the life of the defunct.

These are all beautifully executed, some of the figures of

animals in particular, being easily recognisable and very

accurate. The general design, as far as the ruined state of the

upper part will permit of its being seen, is very good, effect

being given by an immense number and variety of projecting or

retreating courses of squared stones in place of mouldings. The

size of this structure is about thirty feet square by twenty

high, and as the traveller comes suddenly upon it on a small

elevation by the roadside, overshadowed by gigantic trees,

overrun with plants and creepers, and closely backed by the

gloomy forest, he is struck by the solemnity and picturesque

beauty of the scene, and is led to ponder on the strange law of

progress, which looks so like retrogression, and which in so many

distant parts of the world has exterminated or driven out a

highly artistic and constructive race, to make room for one

which, as far as we can judge, is very far its inferior.

Few Englishmen are aware of the number and beauty of the

architectural remains in Java. They have never been popularly

illustrated or described, and it will therefore take most persons

by surprise to learn that they far surpass those of Central

America, perhaps even those of India. To give some idea of these

ruins, and perchance to excite wealthy amateurs to explore them

thoroughly and obtain by photography an accurate record of their

beautiful sculptures before it is too late, I will enumerate the

most important, as briefly described in Sir Stamford Raffles'

"History of Java."

BRAMBANAM.--Near the centre of Java, between the native capitals

of Djoko-kerta and Surakerta, is the village of Brambanam, near

which are abundance of ruins, the most important being the

temples of Loro-Jongran and Chandi Sewa. At Loro-Jongran there

were twenty separate buildings, six large and fourteen small

temples. They are now a mass of ruins, but the largest temples

are supposed to have been ninety feet high. They were all

constructed of solid stone, everywhere decorated with carvings

and bas-reliefs, and adorned with numbers of statues, many of

which still remain entire. At Chandi Sewa, or the "Thousand

Temples," are many fine colossal figures. Captain Baker, who

surveyed these ruins, said he had never in his life seen "such

stupendous and finished specimens of human labour, and of the

science and taste of ages long since forgot, crowded together in

so small a compass as in this spot." They cover a space of nearly

six hundred feet square, and consist of an outer row of eighty-

four small temples, a second row of seventy-six, a third of

sixty-four, a fourth of forty-four, and the fifth forming an

inner parallelogram of twenty-eight, in all two hundred and

ninety-six small temples; disposed in five regular

parallelograms. In the centre is a large cruciform temple

surrounded by lofty flights of steps richly ornamented with

sculpture, and containing many apartments. The tropical

vegetation has ruined most of the smaller temples, but some

remain tolerably perfect, from which the effect of the whole may

be imagined.

About half a mile off is another temple, called Chandi Kali

Bening, seventy-two feet square and sixty feet high, in very fine

preservation, and covered with sculptures of Hindu mythology

surpassing any that exist in India, other ruins of palaces,

halls, and temples, with abundance of sculptured deities, are

found in the same neighbourhood.

BOROBODO.--About eighty miles westward, in the province of Kedu,

is the great temple of Borobodo. It is built upon a small hill,

and consists of a central dome and seven ranges of terraced walls

covering the slope of the hill and forming open galleries each

below the other, and communicating by steps and gateways. The

central dome is fifty feet in diameter; around it is a triple

circle of seventy-two towers, and the whole building is six

hundred and twenty feet square, and about one hundred feet high.

In the terrace walls are niches containing cross-legged figures

larger than life to the number of about four hundred, and both

sides of all the terrace walls are covered with bas-reliefs

crowded with figures, and carved in hard stone and which must

therefore occupy an extent of nearly three miles in length! The

amount of human labour and skill expended on the Great Pyramid of

Egypt sinks into insignificance when compared with that required

to complete this sculptured hill-temple in the interior of Java.

GUNONG PRAU.--About forty miles southwest of Samarang, on a

mountain called Gunong Prau, an extensive plateau is covered with

ruins. To reach these temples, four flights of stone steps were

made up the mountain from opposite directions, each flight

consisting of more than a thousand steps. Traces of nearly four

hundred temples have been found here, and many (perhaps all) were

decorated with rich and delicate sculptures. The whole country

between this and Brambanam, a distance of sixty miles, abounds

with ruins, so that fine sculptured images may be seen lying in

the ditches, or built into the walls of enclosures.

In the eastern part of Java, at Kediri and in Malang, there are

equally abundant traces of antiquity, but the buildings

themselves have been mostly destroyed. Sculptured figures,

however, abound; and the ruins of forts, palaces, baths,

aqueducts, and temples, can be everywhere traced. It is

altogether contrary to the plan of this book to describe what I

have not myself seen; but, having been led to mention them, I

felt bound to do something to call attention to these marvellous

works of art. One is overwhelmed by the contemplation of these

innumerable sculptures, worked with delicacy and artistic feeling

in a hard, intractable, trachytic rock, and all found in one

tropical island. What could have been the state of society, what

the amount of population, what the means of subsistence which

rendered such gigantic works possible, will, perhaps, ever remain

a mystery; and it is a wonderful example of the power of

religious ideas in social life, that in the very country where,

five hundred years ago, these grand works were being yearly

executed, the inhabitants now only build rude houses of bamboo

and thatch, and look upon these relics of their forefathers with

ignorant amazement, as the undoubted productions of giants or of

demons. It is much to be regretted that the Dutch Government does

not take vigorous steps for the preservation of these ruins from

the destroying agency of tropical vegetation; and for the

collection of the fine sculptures which are everywhere scattered

over the land.

Wonosalem is situated about a thousand feet above the sea, but

unfortunately it is at a distance from the forest, and is

surrounded by coffee plantations, thickets of bamboo, and coarse

grasses. It was too far to walk back daily to the forest, and in

other directions I could find no collecting ground for insects.

The place was, however, famous for peacocks, and my boy soon shot

several of these magnificent birds, whose flesh we found to be

tender, white, and delicate, and similar to that of a turkey. The

Java peacock is a different species from that of India, the neck

being covered with scale-like green feathers, and the crest of a

different form; but the eyed train is equally large and equally

beautiful. It is a singular fact in geographical distribution

that the peacock should not be found in Sumatra or Borneo, while

the superb Argus, Fire-backed and Ocellated pheasants of those

islands are equally unknown in Java. Exactly parallel is the fact

that in Ceylon and Southern India, where the peacock abounds,

there are none of the splendid Lophophori and other gorgeous

pheasants which inhabit Northern India. It would seem as if the

peacock can admit of no rivals in its domain. Were these birds

rare in their native country, and unknown alive in Europe, they

would assuredly be considered as the true princes of the

feathered tribes, and altogether unrivalled for stateliness and

beauty. As it is, I suppose scarcely anyone if asked to fix upon

the most beautiful bird in the world would name the peacock, any

more than the Papuan savage or the Bugis trader would fix upon

the bird of paradise for the same honour.

Three days after my arrival at Wonosalem, my friend Mr. Ball came

to pay me a visit. He told me that two evenings before, a boy had

been killed and eaten by a tiger close to Modjo-agong. He was

riding on a cart drawn by bullocks, and was coming home about

dusk on the main road; and when not half a mile from the village

a tiger sprang upon him, carried him off into the jungle close

by, and devoured him. Next morning his remains were discovered,

consisting only of a few mangled bones. The Waidono had got

together about seven hundred men, and were in chase of the

animal, which, I afterwards heard, they found and killed. They

only use spears when in pursuit of a tiger in this way. They

surround a large tract of country, and draw gradually together

until the animal is enclosed in a compact ring of armed men. When

he sees there is no escape he generally makes a spring, and is

received on a dozen spears, and almost instantly stabbed to

death. The skin of an animal thus killed is, of course,

worthless, and in this case the skull, which I had begged Mr.

Ball to secure for me, was hacked to pieces to divide the teeth,

which are worn as charms.

After a week at Wonosalem, I returned to the foot of the

mountain, to a village named Djapannan, which was surrounded by

several patches of forest, and seemed altogether pretty well

spited to my pursuits. The chief of the village had prepared two

small bamboo rooms on one side of his own courtyard to

accommodate me, and seemed inclined to assist me as much as he

could. The weather was exceedingly hot and dry, no rain having

fallen for several months, and there was, in consequence, a great

scarcity of insects, and especially of beetles. I therefore

devoted myself chiefly to obtaining a good set of the birds, and

succeeded in making a tolerable collection. All the peacocks we

had hitherto shot had had short or imperfect tails, but I now

obtained two magnificent specimens more than seven feet long, one

of which I preserved entire, while I kept the train only attached

to the tail of two or three others. When this bird is seen

feeding on the ground, it appears wonderful how it can rise into

the air with such a long and cumbersome train of feathers. It

does so however with great ease, by running quickly for a short

distance, and then rising obliquely; and will fly over trees of a

considerable height. I also obtained here a specimen of the rare

green jungle-fowl (Gallus furcatus), whose back and neck are

beautifully scaled with bronzy feathers, and whose smooth-edged

oval comb is of a violet purple colour, changing to green at the

base. It is also remarkable in possessing a single large wattle

beneath its throat, brightly coloured in three patches of red,

yellow, and blue. The common jungle-cock (Gallus bankiva) was

also obtained here. It is almost exactly like a common game-cock,

but the voice is different, being much shorter and more abrupt;

hence its native name is Bekeko. Six different kinds of

woodpeckers and four kingfishers were found here, the fine

hornbill, Buceros lunatus, more than four feet long, and the

pretty little lorikeet, Loriculus pusillus, scarcely more than as

many inches.

One morning, as I was preparing and arranging specimens, I was

told there was to be a trial; and presently four or five men came

in and squatted down on a mat under the audience-shed in the

court. The chief then came in with his clerk, and sat down

opposite them. Each spoke in turn, telling his own tale, and then

I found that those who first entered were the prisoner, accuser,

policemen, and witness, and that the prisoner was indicated

solely by having a loose piece of cord twilled around his wrists,

but not tied. It was a case of robbery, and after the evidence

was given, and a few questions had been asked by the chief, the

accused said a few words, and then sentence was pronounced, which

was a fine. The parties then got up and walked away together,

seeming quite friendly; and throughout there was nothing in the

manner of any one present indicating passion or ill-feeling--a

very good illustration of the Malayan type of character.

In a month's collecting at Wonosaleni and Djapannan I accumulated

ninety-eight species of birds, but a most miserable lot of

insects. I then determined to leave East Java and try the more

moist and luxuriant districts at the western extremity of the

island. I returned to Sourabaya by water, in a roomy boat which

brought myself, servants, and baggage at one-fifth the expense it

had cost me to come to Modjo-kerto. The river has been rendered

navigable by being carefully banked up, but with the usual effect

of rendering the adjacent country liable occasionally to severe

floods. An immense traffic passes down this river; and at a lock

we passed through, a mile of laden boats were waiting two or

three deep, which pass through in their turn six at a time.

A few days afterwards I went by steamer to Batavia, where I

stayed about a week at the chief hotel, while I made arrangements

for a trip into the interior. The business part of the city is

near the harbour, but the hotels and all the residences of the

officials and European merchants are in a suburb two miles off,

laid out in wide streets and squares so as to cover a great

extent of ground. This is very inconvenient for visitors, as the

only public conveyances are handsome two-horse carriages, whose

lowest charge is five guilders (8s. 4d.) for half a day, so that

an hour's business in the morning and a visit in the evening

costs 16s. 8d. a day for carriage hire alone.

Batavia agrees very well with Mr. Money's graphic account of it,

except that his "clear canals" were all muddy, and his "smooth

gravel drives" up to the houses were one and all formed of coarse

pebbles, very painful to walk upon, and hardly explained by the

fact that in Batavia everybody drives, as it can hardly be

supposed that people never walk in their gardens. The H˘tel des

Indes was very comfortable, each visitor having a sitting-room

and bedroom opening on a verandah, where he can take his morning

coffee and afternoon tea. In the centre of the quadrangle is a

building containing a number of marble baths always ready for

use; and there is an excellent table d'h˘te breakfast at ten, and

dinner at six, for all which there is a moderate charge per day.

I went by coach to Buitenzorg, forty miles inland and about a

thousand feet above the sea, celebrated for its delicious climate

and its Botanical Gardens. With the latter I was somewhat

disappointed. The walks were all of loose pebbles, making any

lengthened wanderings about them very tiring and painful under a

tropical sun. The gardens are no doubt wonderfully rich in

tropical and especially in Malayan plants, but there is a great

absence of skillful laying-out; there are not enough men to keep

the place thoroughly in order, and the plants themselves are

seldom to be compared for luxuriance and beauty to the same

species grown in our hothouses. This can easily be explained. The

plants can rarely be placed in natural or very favourable

conditions. The climate is either too hot or too cool, too moist

or too dry, for a large proportion of them, and they seldom get

the exact quantity of shade or the right quality of soil to suit

them. In our stoves these varied conditions can be supplied to

each individual plant far better than in a large garden, where

the fact that the plants are most of them growing in or near

their native country is supposed to preclude, the necessity of

giving them much individual attention. Still, however, there is

much to admire here. There are avenues of stately palms, and

clumps of bamboos of perhaps fifty different kinds; and an

endless variety of tropical shrubs and trees with strange and

beautiful foliage. As a change from the excessive heat of

Batavia, Buitenzorg is a delightful abode. It is just elevated

enough to have deliciously cool evenings and nights, but not so

much as to require any change of clothing; and to a person long

resident in the hotter climate of the plains, the air is always

fresh and pleasant, and admits of walking at almost any hour of

the day. The vicinity is most picturesque and luxuriant, and the

great volcano of Gunung Salak, with its truncated and jagged

summit, forms a characteristic background to many of the

landscapes. A great mud eruption took place in 1699, since which

date the mountain has been entirely inactive.

On leaving Buitenzorg, I had coolies to carry my baggage and a

horse for myself, both to be changed every six or seven miles.

The road rose gradually, and after the first stage the hills

closed in a little on each side, forming a broad valley; and the

temperature was so cool and agreeable, and the country so

interesting, that I preferred walking. Native villages imbedded

in fruit trees, and pretty villas inhabited by planters or

retired Dutch officials, gave this district a very pleasing and

civilized aspect; but what most attracted my attention was the

system of terrace-cultivation, which is here universally adopted,

and which is, I should think, hardly equalled in the world. The

slopes of the main valley, and of its branches, were everywhere

cut in terraces up to a considerable height, and when they wound

round the recesses of the hills produced all the effect of

magnificent amphitheatres. Hundreds of square miles of country

are thus terraced, and convey a striking idea of the industry of

the people and the antiquity of their civilization. These

terraces are extended year by year as the population increases,

by the inhabitants of each village working in concert under the

direction of their chiefs; and it is perhaps by this system of

village culture alone, that such extensive terracing and

irrigation has been rendered possible. It was probably introduced

by the Brahmins from India, since in those Malay countries where

there is no trace of a previous occupation by a civilized people,

the terrace system is unknown. I first saw this mode of

cultivation in Bali and Lombock, and, as I shall have to describe

it in some detail there (see Chapter X.), I need say no more

about it in this place, except that, owing to the finer outlines

and greater luxuriance of the country in West Java, it produces

there the most striking and picturesque effect. The lower slopes

of the mountains in Java possess such a delightful climate and

luxuriant soil; living is so cheap and life and property are so

secure, that a considerable number of Europeans who have been

engaged in Government service, settle permanently in the country

instead of returning to Europe. They are scattered everywhere

throughout the more accessible parts of the island, and tend

greatly to the gradual improvement of the native population, and

to the continued peace and prosperity of the whole country.

Twenty miles beyond Buitenzorg the post road passes over the

Megamendong Mountain, at an elevation of about 4,500 feet. The

country is finely mountainous, and there is much virgin forest

still left upon the hills, together with some of the oldest

coffee-plantations in Java, where the plants have attained almost

the dimensions of forest trees. About 500 feet below the summit

level of the pass there is a road-keeper's hut, half of which I

hired for a fortnight, as the country looked promising for making

collections. I almost immediately found that the productions of

West Java were remarkably different from those of the eastern

part of the island; and that all the more remarkable and

characteristic Javanese birds and insects were to be found here.

On the very first day, my hunters obtained for me the elegant

yellow and green trogon (Harpactes Reinwardti), the gorgeous

little minivet flycatcher (Pericrocotus miniatus), which looks

like a flame of fire as it flutters among the bushes, and the

rare and curious black and crimson oriole (Analcipus

sanguinolentus), all of these species which are found only in

Java, and even seem to be confined to its western portion.

In a week I obtained no less than twenty-four species of birds,

which I had not found in the east of the island, and in a

fortnight this number increased to forty species, almost all of

which are peculiar to the Javanese fauna. Large and handsome

butterflies were also tolerably abundant. In dark ravines, and

occasionally on the roadside, I captured the superb Papilio

arjuna, whose wings seem powdered with grains of golden green,

condensed into bands and moon-shaped spots; while the elegantly-

formed Papilio coon was sometimes to be found fluttering slowly

along the shady pathways (see figure at page 201). One day a boy

brought me a butterfly between his fingers, perfectly unhurt. He

had caught it as it was sitting with wings erect, sucking up the

liquid from a muddy spot by the roadside. Many of the finest

tropical butterflies have this habit, and they are generally so

intent upon their meal that they can be easily be reached and

captured. It proved to be the rare and curious Charaxes kadenii,

remarkable for having on each hind wing two curved tails like a

pair of callipers. It was the only specimen I ever saw, and is

still the only representative of its kind in English collections.

In the east of Java I had suffered from the intense heat and

drought of the dry season, which had been very inimical to insect

life. Here I had got into the other extreme of damp, wet, and

cloudy weather, which was equally unfavourable. During the month

which I spent in the interior of West Java, I never had a really

hot fine, day throughout. It rained almost every afternoon, or

dense mists came down from the mountains, which equally stopped

collecting, and rendered it most difficult to dry my specimens,

so that I really had no chance of getting a fair sample of

Javanese entomology.

By far the most interesting incident in my visit to Java was a

trip to the summit of the Pangerango and Gedeh mountains; the

former an extinct volcanic cone about 10,000 feet high, the

latter an active crater on a lower portion of the same mountain

range. Tchipanas, about four miles over the Megamendong Pass, is

at the foot of the mountain. A small country house for the

Governor-General and a branch of the Botanic Gardens are situated

here, the keeper of which accommodated me with a bed for a night.

There are many beautiful trees and shrubs planted here, and large

quantities of European vegetables are grown for the Governor-

General's table. By the side of a little torrent that bordered

the garden, quantities of orchids were cultivated, attached to

the trunks of trees, or suspended from the branches, forming an

interesting open air orchid-house. As I intended to stay two or

three nights on the mountain, I engaged two coolies to carry my

baggage, and with my two hunters we started early the next


The first mile was over open country, which brought us to the

forest that covers the whole mountain from a height of about

5,000 feet. The next mile or two was a tolerably steep ascent

through a grand virgin forest, the trees being of great size, and

the undergrowth consisting of fine herbaceous plants, tree-ferns,

and shrubby vegetation. I was struck by the immense number of

ferns that grew by the side of the road. Their variety seemed

endless, and I was continually stopping to admire some new and

interesting forms. I could now well understand what I had been

told by the gardener, that 300 species had been found on this one

mountain. A little before noon we reached the small plateau of

Tjiburong, at the foot of the steeper part of the mountain, where

there is a plank-house for the accommodation of travellers. Close

by is a picturesque waterfall and a curious cavern, which I had

not time to explore. Continuing our ascent the road became

narrow, rugged and steep, winding zigzag up the cone, which is

covered with irregular masses of rock, and overgrown with a dense

luxuriant but less lofty vegetation. We passed a torrent of water

which is not much lower than the boiling point, and has a most

singular appearance as it foams over its rugged bed, sending up

clouds of steam, and often concealed by the overhanging herbage

of ferns and lycopodia, which here thrive with more luxuriance

than elsewhere.

At about 7,500 feet we came to another hut of open bamboos, at a

place called Kandang Badak, or "Rhinoceros-field," which we were

going to make our temporary abode. Here was a small clearing,

with abundance of tree-ferns and some young plantations of

Cinchona. As there was now a thick mist and drizzling rain, I did

not attempt to go on to the summit that evening, but made two

visits to it during my stay, as well as one to the active crater

of Gedeh. This is a vast semicircular chasm, bounded by black

perpendicular walls of rock, and surrounded by miles of rugged

scoria-covered slopes. The crater itself is not very deep. It

exhibits patches of sulphur and variously-coloured volcanic

products, and emits from several vents continual streams of smoke

and vapour. The extinct cone of Pangerango was to me more

interesting. The summit is an irregular undulating plain with a

low bordering ridge, and one deep lateral chasm. Unfortunately,

there was perpetual mist and rain either above or below us all

the time I was on the mountain; so that I never once saw the

plain below, or had a glimpse of the magnificent view which in

fine weather is to be obtained from its summit. Notwithstanding

this drawback I enjoyed the excursion exceedingly, for it was the

first time I had been high enough on a mountain near the Equator

to watch the change from a tropical to a temperate flora. I will

now briefly sketch these changes as I observed them in Java.

On ascending the mountain, we first meet with temperate forms of

herbaceous plants, so low as 3,000 feet, where strawberries and

violets begin to grow, but the former are tasteless, and the

latter have very small and pale flowers. Weedy composites also

begin to give a European aspect to the wayside herbage. It is

between 2,000 and 5,000 feet that the forests and ravines exhibit

the utmost development of tropical luxuriance and beauty. The

abundance of noble Tree-ferns, sometimes fifty feet high,

contributes greatly to the general effect, since of all the forms

of tropical vegetation they are certainly the most striking and

beautiful. Some of the deep ravines which have been cleared of

large timber are full of them from top to bottom; and where the

road crosses one of these valleys, the view of their feathery

crowns, in varied positions above and below the eye, offers a

spectacle of picturesque beauty never to be forgotten. The

splendid foliage of the broad-leaved Musceae and Zingiberaceae,

with their curious and brilliant flowers; and the elegant and

varied forms of plants allied to Begonia and Melastoma,

continually attract the attention in this region. Filling in the

spaces between the trees and larger plants, on every trunk and

stump and branch, are hosts of Orchids, Ferns and Lycopods, which

wave and hang and intertwine in ever-varying complexity. At about

5,000 feet I first saw horsetails (Equisetum), very like our own

species. At 6,000 feet, raspberries abound, and thence to the

summit of the mountain there are three species of eatable Rubus.

At 7,000 feet Cypresses appear, and the forest trees become

reduced in size, and more covered with mosses and lichens. From

this point upward these rapidly increase, so that the blocks of

rock and scoria that form the mountain slope are completely

hidden in a mossy vegetation. At about 5,000 feet European forms

of plants become abundant. Several species of Honeysuckle, St.

John's-wort, and Guelder-rose abound, and at about 9,000 feet we

first meet with the rare and beautiful Royal Cowslip (Primula

imperialis), which is said to be found nowhere else in the world

but on this solitary mountain summit. It has a tall, stout stem,

sometimes more than three feet high, the root leaves are eighteen

inches long, and it bears several whorls of cowslip-like flowers,

instead of a terminal cluster only. The forest trees, gnarled and

dwarfed to the dimensions of bushes, reach up to the very rim of

the old crater, but do not extend over the hollow on its summit.

Here we find a good deal of open ground, with thickets of shrubby

Artemisias and Gnaphaliums, like our southernwood and cudweed,

but six or eight feet high; while Buttercups, Violets,

Whortleberries, Sow-thistles, Chickweed, white and yellow

Cruciferae Plantain, and annual grasses everywhere abound. Where

there are bushes and shrubs, the St. John's-wort and Honeysuckle

grow abundantly, while the Imperial Cowslip only exhibits its

elegant blossoms under the damp shade of the thickets.

Mr. Motley, who visited the mountain in the dry season, and paid

much attention to botany, gives the following list of genera of

European plants found on or near the summit: Two species of

Violet, three of Ranunculus, three of Impatiens, eight or ten of

Rubus, and species of Primula, Hypericum, Swertia, Convallaria

(Lily of the Valley), Vaccinium (Cranberry), Rhododendron,

Gnaphalium,  Polygonum, Digitalis (Foxglove), Lonicera (Honey-

suckle), Plantago (Rib-grass), Artemisia (Wormwood), Lobelia,

Oxalis (Wood-sorrel), Quercus (Oak), and Taxus (Yew). A few of

the smaller plants (Plantago major and lanceolata, Sonchus

oleraceus, and Artemisia vulgaris) are identical with European


The fact of a vegetation so closely allied to that of Europe

occurring on isolated mountain peaks, in an island south of the

Equator, while all the lowlands for thousands of miles around are

occupied by a flora of a totally different character, is very

extraordinary; and has only recently received an intelligible

explanation. The Peak of Teneriffe, which rises to a greater

height and is much nearer to Europe, contains no such Alpine

flora; neither do the mountains of Bourbon and Mauritius. The

case of the volcanic peaks of Java is therefore somewhat

exceptional, but there are several analogous, if not exactly

parallel cases, that will enable us better to understand in what

way the phenomena may possibly have been brought about.

The higher peaks of the Alps, and even of the Pyrenees, contain a

number of plants absolutely identical with those of Lapland, but

nowhere found in the intervening plains. On the summit of the

White Mountains, in the United States, every plant is identical

with species growing in Labrador. In these cases all ordinary

means of transport fail. Most of the plants have heavy seeds,

which could not possibly be carried such immense distances by the

wind; and the agency of birds in so effectually stocking these

Alpine heights is equally out of the question. The difficulty was

so great, that some naturalists were driven to believe that these

species were all separately created twice over on these distant

peaks. The determination of a recent glacial epoch, however, soon

offered a much more satisfactory solution, and one that is now

universally accepted by men of science. At this period, when the

mountains of Wales were full of glaciers, and the mountainous

parts of Central Europe, and much of America north of the great

lakes, were covered with snow and ice, and had a climate

resembling that of Labrador and Greenland at the present day, an

Arctic flora covered all these regions. As this epoch of cold

passed away, and the snowy mantle of the country, with the

glaciers that descended from every mountain summit, receded up

their slopes and towards the north pole, the plants receded also,

always clinging as now to the margins of the perpetual snow line.

Thus it is that the same species are now found on the summits of

the mountains of temperate Europe and America, and in the barren

north-polar regions.

But there is another set of facts, which help us on another step

towards the case of the Javanese mountain flora. On the higher

slopes of the Himalayas, on the tops of the mountains of Central

India and of Abyssinia, a number of plants occur which, though

not identical with those of European mountains, belong to the

same genera, and are said by botanists to represent them; and

most of these could not exist in the warm intervening plains. Mr.

Darwin believes that this class of facts can be explained in the

same way; for, during the greatest severity of the glacial epoch,

temperate forms of plants will have extended to the confines of

the tropics, and on its departure, will have retreated up these

southern mountains, as well as northward to the plains and hills

of Europe. But in this case, the time elapsed, and the great

change of conditions, have allowed many of these plants to become

so modified that we now consider them to be distinct species. A

variety of other facts of a similar nature have led him to

believe that the depression of temperature was at one time

sufficient to allow a few north-temperate plants to cross the

Equator (by the most elevated routes) and to reach the Antarctic

regions, where they are now found. The evidence on which this

belief rests will be found in the latter part of Chapter II. of

the "Origin of Species";  and, accepting it for the present as an

hypothesis, it enables us to account for the presence of a flora

of European type on the volcanoes of Java.

It will, however, naturally be objected that there is a wide

expanse of sea between Java and the continent, which would have

effectually prevented the immigration of temperate fortes of

plants during the glacial epoch. This would undoubtedly be a

fatal objection, were there not abundant evidence to show that

Java has been formerly connected with Asia, and that the union

must have occurred at about the epoch required. The most striking

proof of such a junction is, that the great Mammalia of Java, the

rhinoceros, the tiger, and the Banteng or wild ox, occur also in

Siam and Burmah, and these would certainly not have been

introduced by man. The Javanese peacock and several other birds

are also common to these two countries; but, in the majority of

cases, the species are distinct, though closely allied,

indicating that a considerable time (required for such

modification) has elapsed since the separation, while it has not

been so long as to cause an entire change. Now this exactly

corresponds with the time we should require since the temperate

forms of plants entered Java. These are now almost distinct

species, but the changed conditions under which they are now

forced to exist, and the probability of some of them having since

died out on the continent of India, sufficiently accounts for the

Javanese species being different.

In my more special pursuits, I had very little success upon the

mountain--owing, perhaps, to the excessively unpropitious

weather and the shortness of my stay. At from 7,000 to 8,000 feet

elevation, I obtained one of almost lovely of the small Fruit

pigeons (Ptilonopus roseicollis), whose entire head and neck are

of an exquisite rosy pink colour, contrasting finely with its

otherwise blue plumage; and on the very summit, feeding on the

ground among the strawberries that have been planted there, I

obtained a dull-coloured thrush, with the form and habits of a

starling (Turdus fumidus). Insects were almost entirely absent,

owing no doubt to the extreme dampness, and I did not get a

single butterfly the whole trip; yet I feel sure that, during the

dry season, a week's residence on this mountain would well repay

the collector in every department of natural history.

After my return to Toego, I endeavoured to find another locality

to collect in, and removed to a coffee-plantation some miles to

the north, and tried in succession higher and lower stations on

the mountain; but, I never succeeded in obtaining insects in any

abundance and birds were far less plentiful than on the

Megamendong Mountan. The weather now became more rainy than ever,

and as the wet season seemed to have set in in earnest, I

returned to Batavia, packed up and sent off my collections, and

left by steamer on November 1st for Banca and Sumatra.



(NOVEMBER 1861 to JANUARY 1862.)

The mail steamer from Batavia to Singapore took me to Muntok (or

as on English maps, "Minto"), the chief town and port of Banca.

Here I stayed a day or two, until I could obtain a boat to take me

across the straits, and all the river to Palembang. A few walks

into the country showed me that it was very hilly, and full of

granitic and laterite rocks, with a dry and stunted forest

vegetation; and I could find very few insects. A good-sized open

sailing-boat took me across to the mouth of the Palembang river

where, at a fishing village, a rowing-boat was hired to take me up

to Palembang--a distance of nearly a hundred miles by water.

Except when the wind was strong and favourable we could only

proceed with the tide, and the banks of the river were generally

flooded Nipa-swamps, so that the hours we were obliged to lay at

anchor passed very heavily. Reaching Palembang on the 8th of

November, I was lodged by the Doctor, to whom I had brought a

letter of introduction, and endeavoured to ascertain where I

could find a good locality for collecting. Everyone assured me

that I should have to go a very long way further to find any dry

forest, for at this season the whole country for many miles

inland was flooded. I therefore had to stay a week at Palembang

before I could determine my future movements.

The city is a large one, extending for three or four miles along

a fine curve of the river, which is as wide as the Thames at

Greenwich. The stream is, however, much narrowed by the houses

which project into it upon piles, and within these, again, there

is a row of houses built upon great bamboo rafts, which are

moored by rattan cables to the shore or to piles, and rise and

fall with the tide.

The whole riverfront on both sides is chiefly formed of such

houses, and they are mostly shops open to the water, and only

raised a foot above it, so that by taking a small boat it is easy

to go to market and purchase anything that is to be had in

Palembang. The natives are true Malays, never building a house on

dry land if they can find water to set it in, and never going

anywhere on foot if they can reach the place in a heat. A

considerable portion of the population are Chinese and Arabs, who

carry on all the trade; while the only Europeans are the civil

and military officials of the Dutch Government. The town is

situated at the head of the delta of the river, and between it

and the sea there is very little ground elevated above highwater

mark; while for many miles further inland, the banks of the main

stream and its numerous tributaries are swampy, and in the wet

season hooded for a considerable distance. Palembang is built on

a patch of elevated ground, a few miles in extent, on the north

bank of the river. At a spot about three miles from the town this

turns into a little hill, the top of which is held sacred by the

natives, shaded by some fine trees,and inhabited by a colony

of squirrels which have become half-tame. On holding out a few

crumbs of bread or any fruit, they come running down the trunk,

take the morsel out of your fingers, and dart away instantly.

Their tails are carried erect, and the hair, which is ringed with

grey, yellow, and brown, radiates uniformly around them, and

looks exceedingly pretty. They have somewhat of the motions of

mice, coming on with little starts, and gazing intently with

their large black eyes before venturing to advance further. The

manner in which Malays often obtain the confidence of wild

animals is a very pleasing trait in their character, and is due

in some degree to the quiet deliberation of their manners, and

their love of repose rather than of action. The young are

obedient to the wishes of their elders, and seem to feel none of

that propensity to mischief which European boys exhibit. How long

would tame squirrels continue to inhabit trees in the vicinity of

an English village, even if close to the church? They would soon

be pelted and driven away, or snared and confined in a whirling

cage. I have never heard of these pretty animals being tamed in

this way in England, but I should think it might be easily done

in any gentleman's park, and they would certainly be as pleasing

and attractive as they would be uncommon.

After many inquiries, I found that a day's journey by water above

Palembang there commenced a military road which extended up to

the mountains and even across to Bencoolen, and I determined to

take this route and travel on until I found some tolerable

collecting ground. By this means I should secure dry land and a

good road, and avoid the rivers, which at this season are very

tedious to ascend owing to the powerful currents, and very

unproductive to the collector owing to most of the lands in their

vicinity being underwater. Leaving early in the morning we did

not reach Lorok, the village where the road begins, until late at

night. I stayed there a few days, but found that most all the

ground in the vicinity not underwater was cultivated, and that

the only forest was in swamps which were now inaccessible. The

only bird new to me which I obtained at Lorok was the fine long-

tailed parroquet (Palaeornis longicauda). The people here assured

me that the country was just the same as this for a very long

way--more than a week's journey, and they seemed hardly to have

any conception of an elevated forest-clad country, so that I

began to think it would be useless going on, as the time at my

disposal was too short to make it worth my while to spend much

more of it in moving about. At length, however, I found a man who

knew the country, and was more intelligent; and he at once told

me that if I wanted forest I must go to the district of Rembang,

which I found on inquiry was about twenty-five or thirty miles


The road is divided into regular stages of ten or twelve miles

each, and, without sending on in advance to have coolies ready,

only this distance can be travelled in a day. At each station

there are houses for the accommodation of passengers, with

cooking-house and stables, and six or eight men always on guard.

There is an established system for coolies at fixed rates, the

inhabitants of the surrounding villages all taking their turn to

be subject to coolie service, as well as that of guards at the

station for five days at a time. This arrangement makes

travelling very easy, and was a great convenience for me. I had a

pleasant walk of ten or twelve miles in the morning, and the rest

of the day could stroll about and explore the village and

neighbourhood, having a house ready to occupy without any

formalities whatever. In three days I reached Moera-dua, the

first village in Rembang, and finding the country dry and

undulating, with a good sprinkling of forest, I determined to

remain a short time and try the neighbourhood. Just opposite the

station was a small but deep river, and a good bathing-place; and

beyond the village was a fine patch of forest, through which the

road passed, overshadowed by magnificent trees, which partly

tempted me to stay; but after a fortnight I could find no good

place for insects, and very few birds different from the common

species of Malacca. I therefore moved on another stage to Lobo

Raman, where the guard-house is situated quite by itself in the

forest, nearly a mile from each of three villages. This was very

agreeable to me, as I could move about without having every

motion watched by crowds of men, women and children, and I had

also a much greater variety of walks to each of the villages and

the plantations around them.

The villages of the Sumatran Malays are somewhat peculiar and

very picturesque. A space of some acres is surrounded with a high

fence, and over this area the houses are thickly strewn without

the least attempt at regularity. Tall cocoa-nut trees grow

abundantly between them, and the ground is bare and smooth with

the trampling of many feet. The houses are raised about six feet

on posts, the best being entirely built of planks, others of

bamboo. The former are always more or less ornamented with

carving and have high-pitched roofs and overhanging eaves. The

gable ends and all the chief posts and beams are sometimes

covered with exceedingly tasteful carved work, and this is still

more the case in the district of Menangkabo, further west. The

floor is made of split bamboo, and is rather shaky, and there is

no sign of anything we should call furniture. There are no

benches or chairs or stools, but merely the level floor covered

with mats, on which the inmates sit or lie. The aspect of the

village itself is very neat, the ground being often swept before

the chief houses; but very bad odours abound, owing to there

being under every house a stinking mud-hole, formed by all waste

liquids and refuse matter, poured down through the floor above.

In most other things Malays are tolerably clean--in some

scrupulously so; and this peculiar and nasty custom, which is

almost universal, arises, I have little doubt, from their having

been originally a maritime and water-loving people, who built

their houses on posts in the water, and only migrated gradually

inland, first up the rivers and streams, and then into the dry

interior. Habits which were at once so convenient and so cleanly,

and which had been so long practised as to become a portion of

the domestic life of the nation, were of course continued when

the first settlers built their houses inland; and without a

regular system of drainage, the arrangement of the villages is

such that any other system would be very inconvenient.

In all these Sumatran villages I found considerable difficulty in

getting anything to eat. It was not the season for vegetables,

and when, after much trouble, I managed to procure some yams of a

curious variety, I found them hard and scarcely eatable. Fowls

were very scarce; and fruit was reduced to one of the poorest

kinds of banana. The natives (during the wet season at least)

live exclusively on rice, as the poorer Irish do on potatoes. A

pot of rice cooked very dry and eaten with salt and red peppers,

twice a day, forms their entire food during a large part of the

year. This is no sign of poverty, but is simply custom; for their

wives and children are loaded with silver armlets from wrist to

elbow, and carry dozens of silver coins strung round their necks

or suspended from their ears.

As I had moved away from Palembang, I had found the Malay spoken

by the common people less and less pure, until at length it became

quite unintelligible, although the continual recurrence of many

well-known words assured me it was a form of Malay, and enabled

me to guess at the main subject of conversation. This district

had a very bad reputation a few years ago, and travellers were

frequently robbed and murdered. Fights between village and

village were also of frequent occurrence, and many lives were

lost, owing to disputes about boundaries or intrigues with women.

Now, however, since the country has been divided into districts

under "Controlleurs," who visit every village in turn to hear

complaints and settle disputes, such things are heard of no more.

This is one of the numerous examples I have met with of the good

effects of the Dutch Government. It exercises a strict

surveillance over its most distant possessions, establishes a

form of government well adapted to the character of the people,

reforms abuses, punishes crimes, and makes itself everywhere

respected by the native population.

Lobo Raman is a central point of the east end of Sumatra, being

about a hundred and twenty miles from the sea to the east, north,

and west. The surface is undulating, with no mountains or even

hills, and there is no rock, the soil being generally a red

pliable clay. Numbers of small streams and rivers intersect the

country, and it is pretty equally divided between open clearings

and patches of forest, both virgin and second growth, with

abundance of fruit trees; and there is no lack of paths to get

about in any direction. Altogether it is the very country that

would promise most for a naturalist, and I feel sure that at a

more favourable time of year it would prove exceedingly rich; but

it was now the rainy season, when, in the very best of

localities, insects are always scarce, and there being no fruit

on the trees, there was also a scarcity of birds. During a month's

collecting, I added only three or four new species to my list of

birds, although I obtained very fine specimens of many which were

rare and interesting. In butterflies I was rather more

successful, obtaining several fine species quite new to me, and a

considerable number of very rare and beautiful insects. I will

give here some account of two species of butterflies, which,

though very common in collections, present us with peculiarities

of the highest interest.

The first is the handsome Papilio memnon, a splendid butterfly of

a deep black colour, dotted over with lines and groups of scales

of a clear ashy blue. Its wings are five inches in expanse, and

the hind wings are rounded, with scalloped edges. This applies to

the males; but the females are very different, and vary so much

that they were once supposed to form several distinct species.

They may be divided into two groups--those which resemble the

male in shape, and, those which differ entirely from him in the

outline of the wings. The first vary much in colour, being often

nearly white with dusky yellow and red markings, but such

differences often occur in butterflies. The second group are much

more extraordinary, and would never be supposed to be the same

insect, since the hind wings are lengthened out into large spoon-

shaped tails, no rudiment of which is ever to be perceived in the

males or in the ordinary form of females. These tailed females

are never of the dark and blue-glossed tints which prevail in the

male and often occur in the females of the same form, but are

invariably ornamented with stripes and patches of white or buff,

occupying the larger part of the surface of the hind wings. This

peculiarity of colouring led me to discover that this

extraordinary female closely resembles (when flying) another

butterfly of the same genus but of a different group (Papilio

co÷n), and that we have here a case of mimicry similar to those

so well illustrated and explained by Mr. Bates.[ Trans. Linn.

Soc. vol. xviii. p. 495; "Naturalist on the Amazons," vol. i. p.


That the resemblance is not accidental is sufficiently

proved by the fact, that in the North of India, where Papilio

co÷n is replaced by all allied forms, (Papilio Doubledayi) having

red spots in place of yellow, a closely-allied species or variety

of Papilio memnon (P. androgens) has the tailed female also red

spotted. The use and reason of this resemblance appears to be

that the butterflies imitated belong to a section of the genus

Papilio which from some cause or other are not attacked by birds,

and by so closely resembling these in form and colour the female

of Memnon and its ally, also escape persecution. Two other

species of this same section (Papilio antiphus and Papilio

polyphontes) are so closely imitated by two female forms of

Papilio tbeseus (which comes in the same section with Memnon),

that they completely deceived the Dutch entomologist De Haan, and

he accordingly classed them as the same species!

But the most curious fact connected with these distinct forms is

that they are both the offspring of either form. A single brood

of larva were bred in Java by a Dutch entomologist, and produced

males as well as tailed and tailless females, and there is every

reason to believe that this is always the case, and that forms

intermediate in character never occur. To illustrate these

phenomena, let us suppose a roaming Englishman in some remote island

to have two wives--one a black-haired/ red-skinned Indian, the other a

woolly-headed/ sooty-skinned negress; and that instead of the

children being mulattoes of brown or dusky tints, mingling the

characteristics of each parent in varying degrees, all the boys

should be as fair-skinned and blue-eyed as their father, while

the girls should altogether resemble their mothers. This would be

thought strange enough, but the case of these butterflies is yet

more extraordinary, for each mother is capable not only of

producing male offspring like the father, and female like

herself, but also other females like her fellow wife, and

altogether differing from herself!

The other species to which I have to direct attention is the

Kallima paralekta, a butterfly of the same family group as our

Purple Emperor, and of about the same size or larger. Its upper

surface is of a rich purple, variously tinged with ash colour,

and across the forewings there is a broad bar of deep orange, so

that when on the wing it is very conspicuous. This species was

not uncommon in dry woods and thickets, and I often endeavoured

to capture it without success, for after flying a short distance

it would enter a bush among dry or dead leaves, and however

carefully I crept up to the spot I could never discover it until

it would suddenly start out again and then disappear in a similar

place. If at length I was fortunate enough to see the exact spot

where the butterfly settled, and though I lost sight of it for

some time, I would discover that it was close before my eyes, but

that in its position of repose it so closely resembled a dead leaf

attached to a twig as almost certainly to deceive the eye even when

gazing full upon it. I captured several specimens on the wing, and

was able fully to understand the way in which this wonderful resemblance

is produced.

The end of the upper wings terminates in a fine point, just as

the leaves of many tropical shrubs and trees are pointed, while

the lower wings are somewhat more obtuse, and are lengthened out

into a short thick tail. Between these two points there runs a

dark curved line exactly representing the midrib of a leaf, and

from this radiate on each side a few oblique marks which well

imitate the lateral veins. These marks are more clearly seen on

the outer portion of the base of the wings, and on the innerside

towards the middle and apex, and they are produced by striae and

markings which are very common in allied species, but which are

here modified and strengthened so as to imitate more exactly the

venation of a leaf. The tint of the undersurface varies much,

but it is always some ashy brown or reddish colour, which matches

with those of dead leaves. The habit of the species is always to

rest on a twig and among dead or dry leaves, and in this position

with the wings closely pressed together, their outline is exactly

that of a moderately-sized leaf, slightly curved or shrivelled.

The tail of the hind wings forms a perfect stalk, and touches the

stick while the insect is supported by the middle pair of legs,

which are not noticed among the twigs and fibres that surround

it. The head and antennae are drawn back between the wings so as

to be quite concealed, and there is a little notch hollowed out

at the very base of the wings, which allows the head to be

retracted sufficiently. All these varied details combine to

produce a disguise that is so complete and marvellous as to

astonish everyone who observes it; and the habits of the insects

are such as to utilize all these peculiarities, and render them

available in such a manner as to remove all doubt of the purpose

of this singular case of mimicry, which is undoubtedly a

protection to the insect.

Its strong and swift flight is sufficient to save it from its enemies

when on the wing, but if it were equally conspicuous when at rest it

could not long escape extinction, owing to the attacks of the

insectivorous birds and reptiles that abound in the tropical forests.

A very closely allied species, Kallima inachis, inhabits India, where

it is very common, and specimens are sent in every collection from

the Himalayas. On examining a number of these, it will be seen that

no two are alike, but all the variations correspond to those of

dead leaves. Every tint of yellow, ash, brown, and red is found

here, and in many specimens there occur patches and spots formed

of small black dots, so closely resembling the way in which

minute fungi grow on leaves that it is almost impossible at first

not to believe that fungi have gown on the butterflies


If such an extraordinary adaptation as this stood alone, it would

be very difficult to offer any explanation of it; but although it

is perhaps the most perfect case of protective imitation known,

there are hundreds of similar resemblances in nature, and from

these it is possible to deduce a general theory of the manner in

which they have been slowly brought about. The principle of

variation and that of "natural selection," or survival of the

fittest, as elaborated by Mr. Darwin in his celebrated "Origin of

Species," offers the foundation for such a theory; and I have

myself endeavoured to apply it to all the chief cases of

imitation in an article published in the "Westminster Review" for

1867, entitled, "Mimicry, and other Protective Resemblances

Among Animals," to which any reader is referred who wishes to

know more about this subject.

In Sumatra, monkeys are very abundant, and at Lobo Kaman they

used to frequent the trees which overhang the guard-house, and

give me a fine opportunity of observing their gambols. Two

species of Semnopithecus were most plentiful--monkeys of a

slender form, with very long tails. Not being much shot at they

are rather bold, and remain quite unconcerned when natives alone

are present; but when I came out to look at them, they would

stare for a minute or two and then make off. They take tremendous

leaps from the branches of one tree to those at another a little

lower, and it is very amusing when a one strong leader takes a

bold jump, to see the others following with more or less

trepidation; and it often happens that one or two of the last

seem quite unable to make up their minds to leap until the rest

are disappearing, when, as if in desperation at being left alone,

they throw themselves frantically into the air, and often go

crashing through the slender branches and fall to the ground.

A very curious ape, the Siamang, was also rather abundant, but it

is much less bold than the monkeys, keeping to the virgin forests

and avoiding villages. This species is allied to the little long-

armed apes of the genus Hylobates, but is considerably larger,

and differs from them by having the two first fingers of the feet

united together, nearly to the endm as does its Latin native,

Siamanga syndactyla. It moves much more slowly than the active

Hylobates, keeping lower down in trees, and not indulging in such

tremendous leaps; but it is still very active, and by means of

its immense long arms, five feet six inches across in an adult

about three feet high, can swing itself along among the trees at

a great rate. I purchased a small one, which had been caught by

the natives and tied up so tightly as to hurt it. It was rather

savage at first, and tried to bite; but when we had released it

and given it two poles under the verandah to hang upon, securing

it by a short cord, running along the pole with a ring so that

it could move easily, it became more contented, and would swing

itself about with great rapidity. It ate almost any kind of

fruit and rice, and I was in hopes to have brought it to England,

but it died just before I started. It took a dislike to me at

first, which I tried to get over by feeding it constantly myself.

One day, however, it bit me so sharply while giving it food, that

I lost patience and gave it rather a severe beating, which I

regretted afterwards, as from that time it disliked me more than

ever. It would allow my Malay boys to play with it, and for hours

together would swing by its arms from pole to pole and on to the

rafters of the verandah, with so much ease and rapidity, that it

was a constant source of amusement to us. When I returned to

Singapore it attracted great attention, as no one had seen a

Siamang alive before, although it is not uncommon in some parts

of the Malay peninsula.

As the Orangutan is known to inhabit Sumatra, and was in fact

first discovered there, I made many inquiries about it; but none

of the natives had ever heard of such an animal, nor could I find

any of the Dutch officials who knew anything about it. We may

conclude, therefore, that it does not inhabit the great forest

plains in the east of Sumatra where one would naturally expect to

find it, but is probably confined to a limited region in the

northwest part of the island entirely in the hands of native

rulers. The other great Mammalia of Sumatra, the elephant and the

rhinoceros, are more widely distributed; but the former is much

more scarce than it was a few years ago, and seems to retire

rapidly before the spread of cultivation. Lobo Kaman tusks

and bones are occasionally found about in the forest, but the living

animal is now never seen. The rhinoceros (Rhinoceros sumatranus)

still abounds, and I continually saw its tracks and its dung, and

once disturbed one feeding, which went crashing away through the

jungle, only permitting me a momentary glimpse of it through the

dense underwood. I obtained a tolerably perfect cranium, and a

number of teeth, which were picked up by the natives.

Another curious animal, which I had met with in Singapore and in

Borneo, but which was more abundant here, is the Galeopithecus,

or flying lemur. This creature has a broad membrane extending all

aound its body to the extremities of the toes, and to the point

of the rather long tail. This enables it to pass obliquely

through the air from one tree to another. It is sluggish in its

motions, at least by day, going up a tree by short runs of a few

feet, and then stopping a moment as if the action was difficult.

It rests during the day clinging to the trunks of trees, where

its olive or brown fur, mottled with irregular whitish spots and

blotches, resembles closely the colour of mottled bark, and no

doubt helps to protect it. Once, in a bright twilight, I saw one

of these animals run up a trunk in a rather open place, and then

glide obliquely through the air to another tree, on which it

alighted near its base, and immediately began to ascend. I paced

the distance from the one tree to the other, and found it to be

seventy yards; and the amount of descent I estimated at not more

than thirty-five or forty feet, or less than one in five. This I

think proves that the animal must have some power of guiding

itself through the air, otherwise in so long a distance it would

have little chance of alighting exactly upon the trunk. Like the

Cuscus of the Moluccas, the Galeopithecus feeds chiefly on

leaves, and possesses a very voluminous stomach and long

convoluted intestines. The brain is very small, and the animal

possesses such remarkable tenacity of life, that it is

exceedingly difficult to kill it by any ordinary means. The tail

is prehensile; and is probably made use of as an additional

support while feeding. It is said to have only a single young one

at a time, and my own observation confirms this statement, for I

once shot a female with a very small blind and naked little

creature clinging closely to its breast, which was quite bare and

much wrinkled, reminding me of the young of Marsupials, to which

it seemed to form a transition. On the back, and extending over

the limbs and membrane, the fur of these animals is short, but

exquisitely soft, resembling in its texture that of the


I returned to Palembang by water, and while staying a day at a

village while a boat was being made watertight, I had the good

fortune to obtain a male, female, and young bird of one of the

large hornbills. I had sent my hunters to shoot, and while I was

at breakfast they returned, bringing me a fine large male of the

Buceros bicornis, which one of them assured me he had shot while

feeding the female, which was shut up in a hole in a tree. I had

often read of this curious habit, and immediately returned to the

place, accompanied by several of the natives. After crossing a

stream and a bog, we found a large tree leaning over some water,

and on its lower side, at a height of about twenty feet, appeared

a small hole, and what looked like a quantity of mud, which I was

assured had been used in stopping up the large hole. After a

while we heard the harsh cry of a bird inside, and could see the

white extremity of its beak put out. I offered a rupee to anyone

who would go up and get the bird out, with the egg or young one;

but they all declared it was too difficult, and they were afraid

to try. I therefore very reluctantly came away. About an hour

afterwards, much to my surprise, a tremendous loud, hoarse

screaming was heard, and the bird was brought me, together with a

young one which had been found in the hole. This was a most

curious object, as large as a pigeon, but without a particle of

plumage on any part of it. It was exceedingly plump and soft, and

with a semi-transparent skin, so that it looked more like a bag

of jelly, with head and feet stuck on, than like a real bird.

The extraordinary habit of the male, in plastering up the female

with her egg, and feeding her during the whole time of

incubation, and until the young one is fledged, is common to

several of the large hornbills, and is one of those strange facts

in natural history which are "stranger than fiction."



IN the first chapter of this work I have stated generally the

reasons which lead us to conclude that the large islands in the

western portion of the Archipelago--Java, Sumatra, and Borneo--as

well as the Malay peninsula and the Philippine islands, have been

recently separated from the continent of Asia. I now propose to

give a sketch of the Natural History of these, which I term the

Indo-Malay islands, and to show how far it supports this view,

and how much information it is able to give us of the antiquity

and origin of the separate islands.

The flora of the Archipelago is at present so imperfectly known,

and I have myself paid so little attention to it, that I cannot

draw from it many facts of importance. The Malayan type of

vegetation is however a very important one; and Dr. Hooker

informs us, in his "Flora Indica," that it spreads over all the

moister and more equable parts of India, and that many plants

found in Ceylon, the Himalayas, the Nilghiri, and Khasia mountains

are identical with those of Java and the Malay peninsula. Among

the more characteristic forms of this flora are the rattans--

climbing palms of the genus Calamus, and a great variety of

tall, as well as stemless palms. Orchids, Aracae, Zingiberaceae

and ferns, are especially abundant, and the genus Grammatophyllum--

a gigantic epiphytal orchid, whose clusters of leaves and flower-stems

are ten or twelve feet long--is peculiar to it. Here, too, is the

domain of the wonderful pitcher plants (Nepenthaceae), which are only

represented elsewhere by solitary species in Ceylon, Madagascar, the

Seychelles, Celebes, and the Moluccas. Those celebrated fruits, the

Mangosteen and the Durian, are natives of this region, and will hardly

grow out of the Archipelago. The mountain plants of Java have already

been alluded to as showing a former connexion with the continent of

Asia; and a still more extraordinary and more ancient connection

with Australia has been indicated by Mr. Low's collections from

the summit of Kini-balou, the loftiest mountain in Borneo.

Plants have much greater facilities for passing across arms of

the sea than animals. The lighter seeds are easily carried by the

winds, and many of them are specially adapted to be so carried.

Others can float a long tune unhurt in the water, and are drifted

by winds and currents to distant shores. Pigeons, and other

fruit-eating birds, are also the means of distributing plants,

since the seeds readily germinate after passing through their

bodies. It thus happens that plants which grow on shores and

lowlands have a wide distribution, and it requires an extensive

knowledge of the species of each island to determine the

relations of their floras with any approach to accuracy. At

present we have no such complete knowledge of the botany of

the several islands of the Archipelago; and it is only by such

striking phenomena as the occurrence of northern and even

European genera on the summits of the Javanese mountains that we

can prove the former connection of that island with the Asiatic

continent. With land animals, however, the case is very

different. Their means of passing a wide expanse of sea are far

more restricted. Their distribution has been more accurately

studied, and we possess a much more complete knowledge of such

groups as mammals and birds in most of the islands, than we do of

the plants. It is these two classes which will supply us with

most of our facts as to the geographical distribution of

organized beings in this region.

The number of Mammalia known to inhabit the Indo-Malay region is

very considerable, exceeding 170 species. With the exception of

the bats, none of these have any regular means of passing arms of

the sea many miles in extent, and a consideration of their

distribution must therefore greatly assist us in determining

whether these islands have ever been connected with each other or

with the continent since the epoch of existing species.

The Quadrumana or monkey tribe form one of the most

characteristic features of this region. Twenty-four distinct

species are known to inhabit it, and these are distributed with

tolerable uniformity over the islands, nine being found in Java,

ten in the Malay peninsula, eleven in Sumatra, and thirteen in

Borneo. The great man-like Orangutans are found only in Sumatra

and Borneo; the curious Siamang (next to them in size) in Sumatra

and Malacca; the long-nosed monkey only in Borneo; while every

island has representatives of the Gibbons or long-armed apes, and

of monkeys. The lemur-like animals, Nycticebus, Tarsius, and

Galeopithecus, are found on all the islands.

Seven species found on the Malay peninsula extend also into

Sumatra, four into Borneo, and three into Java; while two range

into Siam and Burma, and one into North India. With the

exception of the Orangutan, the Siamang, the Tarsius spectrum,

and the Galeopithecus, all the Malayan genera of Quadrumana are

represented in India by closely allied species, although, owing

to the limited range of most of these animals, so few are

absolutely identical.

Of Carnivora, thirty-three species are known from the Indo-Malay

region, of which about eight are found also in Burma and India.

Among these are the tiger, leopard, a tiger-cat, civet, and

otter; while out of the twenty genera of Malayan Carnivora,

thirteen are represented in India by more or less closely allied

species. As an example, the Malayan bear is represented in North

India by the Tibetan bear, both of which may be seen alive at the

Zoological Society's Gardens.

The hoofed animals are twenty-two in number, of which about seven

extend into Burmahand India. All the deer are of peculiar

species, except two, which range from Malacca into India. Of the

cattle, one Indian species reaches Malacca, while the Bos sondiacus

of Java and Borneo is also found in Siam and Burma. A goat-like animal

is found in Sumatra which has its representative in India; while the

two-horned rhinoceros of Sumatra and the single-horned species of

Java, long supposed to be peculiar to these islands, are now both

ascertained to exist in Burma, Pegu, and Moulmein. The elephant of

Sumatra, Borneo, and Malacca is now considered to be identical with

that of Ceylon and India.

In all other groups of Mammalia the same general phenomena recur.

A few species are identical with those of India. A much larger

number are closely allied or representative forms, while there

are always a small number of peculiar genera, consisting of

animals unlike those found in any other part of the world. There

are about fifty bats, of which less than one-fourth are Indian

species; thirty-four Rodents (squirrels, rats, &c.), of which six

or eight only are Indian; and ten Insectivora, with one exception

peculiar to the Malay region. The squirrels are very abundant

and characteristic, only two species out of twenty-five extending

into Siam and Burma. The Tupaias are curious insect-eaters,

which closely resemble squirrels, and are almost confined to the

Malay islands, as,are the small feather-tailed Ptilocerus lowii

of Borneo, and the curious long-snouted and naked-tailed Gymnurus


As the Malay peninsula is a part of the continent of Asia, the

question of the former union of the islands to the mainland will

be best elucidated by studying the species which are found in the

former district, and also in some of the islands. Now, if we

entirely leave out of consideration the bats, which have the

power of flight, there are still forty-eight species of mammals

common to the Malay peninsula and the three large islands. Among

these are seven Quadrumana (apes, monkeys, and lemurs), animals

who pass their whole existence in forests, who never swim, and

who would be quite unable to traverse a single mile of sea;

nineteen Carnivora, some of which no doubt might cross by

swimming, but we cannot suppose so large a number to have passed

in this way across a strait which, except at one point, is from

thirty to fifty miles wide; and five hoofed animals, including

the Tapir, two species of rhinoceros, and an elephant. Besides

these there are thirteen Rodents and four Insectivora, including

a shrew-mouse and six squirrels, whose unaided passage over

twenty miles of sea is even more inconceivable than that of the

larger animals.

But when we come to the cases of the same species inhabiting two

of the more widely separated islands, the difficulty is much

increased. Borneo is distant nearly 150 miles from Biliton, which

is about fifty miles from Banca, and this fifteen from Sumatra,

yet there are no less than thirty-six species of mammals common

to Borneo and Sumatra. Java again is more than 250 miles from

Borneo, yet these two islands have twenty-two species in common,

including monkeys, lemurs, wild oxen, squirrels and shrews. These

facts seem to render it absolutely certain that there has been at

some former period a connection between all these islands and the

mainland, and the fact that most of the animals common to two or

more of then, show little or no variation, but are often absolutely

identical, indicates that the separation must have been recent in

a geological sense; that is, not earlier than the Newer Pliocene

epoch, at which time land animals began to assimilate closely with

those now existing.

Even the bats furnish an additional argument, if one were needed,

to show that the islands could not have been peopled from each

other and from the continent without some former connection. For

if such had been the mode of stocking them with animals, it is

quite certain that creatures which can fly long distances would

be the first to spread from island to island, and thus produce an

almost perfect uniformity of species over the whole region. But

no such uniformity exists, and the bats of each island are

almost, if not quite, as distinct as the other mammals. For

example, sixteen species are known in Borneo, and of these ten

are found in Java and five in Sumatra, a proportion about the

same as that of the Rodents, which have no direct means of

migration. We learn from this fact, that the seas which separate

the islands from each other are wide enough to prevent the

passage even of flying animals, and that we must look to the same

causes as having led to the present distribution of both groups.

The only sufficient cause we can imagine is the former connection

of all the islands with the continent, and such a change is in

perfect harmony with what we know of the earth's past history,

and is rendered probable by the remarkable fact that a rise of

only three hundred feet would convert the wide seas that separate

them into an immense winding valley or plain about three hundred

miles wide and twelve hundred long. It may, perhaps, be thought

that birds which possess the power of flight in so pre-eminent a

degree, would not be limited in their range by arms of the sea,

and would thus afford few indications of the former union or

separation of the islands they inhabit. This, however, is not the

case. A very large number of birds appear to be as strictly

limited by watery barriers as are quadrupeds; and as they have

been so much more attentively collected, we have more complete

materials to work upon, and are able to deduce from them still

more definite and satisfactory results. Some groups, however,

such as the aquatic birds, the waders, and the birds of prey, are

great wanderers; other groups are little known except to

ornithologists. I shall therefore refer chiefly to a few of the

best known and most remarkable families of birds as a sample of

the conclusions furnished by the entire class.

The birds of the Indo-Malay region have a close resemblance to

those of India; for though a very large proportion of the species

are quite distinct, there are only about fifteen peculiar genera,

and not a single family group confined to the former district.

If, however, we compare the islands with the Burmese, Siamese,

and Malayan countries, we shall find still less difference, and

shall be convinced that all are closely united by the bond of a

former union. In such well-known families as the woodpeckers,

parrots, trogons, barbets, kingfishers, pigeons, and pheasants,

we find some identical species spreading over all India, and as

far as Java and Borneo, while a very large proportion are common

to Sumatra and the Malay peninsula.

The force of these facts can only be appreciated when we come to

treat the islands of the Austro-Malay region, and show how

similar barriers have entirely prevented the passage of birds

from one island to another, so that out of at least three hundred

and fifty land birds inhabiting Java and Borneo, not more than

ten have passed eastward into Celebes. Yet the Straits of

Macassar are not nearly so wide as the Java sea, and at least a

hundred species are common to Borneo and Java.

I will now give two examples to show how a knowledge of the

distribution of animals may reveal unsuspected facts in the past

history of the earth. At the eastern extremity of Sumatra, and

separated from it by a strait about fifteen miles wide, is the

small rocky island of Banca, celebrated for its tin mines. One of

the Dutch residents there sent some collections of birds and

animals to Leyden, and among them were found several species

distinct from those of the adjacent coast of Sumatra. One of

these was a squirrel (Sciurus bangkanus), closely allied to three

other species inhabiting respectively the Malay peninsula,

Sumatra, and Borneo, but quite as distinct from them all as they

are from each other. There were also two new ground thrushes of

the genus Pitta, closely allied to, but quite distinct from, two

other species inhabiting both Sumatra and Borneo, and which did

not perceptibly differ in these large and widely separated

islands. This is just as if the Isle of Man possessed a peculiar

species of thrush and blackbird, distinct from the birds which

are common to England and Ireland.

These curious facts would indicate that Banca may have existed as

a distinct island even longer than Sumatra and Borneo, and there

are some geological and geographical facts which render this not

so improbable as it would at first seem to be. Although on the

map Banca appears so close to Sumatra, this does not arise from

its having been recently separated from it; for the adjacent

district of Palembang is new land, being a great alluvial swamp

formed by torrents from the mountains a hundred miles distant.

Banca, on the other hand, agrees with Malacca, Singapore, and the

intervening island of Lingen, in being formed of granite and

laterite; and these have all most likely once formed an extension

of the Malay peninsula. As the rivers of Borneo and Sumatra have

been for ages filling up the intervening sea, we may be sure that

its depth has recently been greater, and it is very probable that

those large islands were never directly connected with each other

except through the Malay peninsula. At that period the same

species of squirrel and Pitta may have inhabited all these

countries; but when the subterranean disturbances occurred which

led to the elevation of the volcanoes of Sumatra, the small

island of Banca may have been separated first, and its

productions being thus isolated might be gradually modified

before the separation of the larger islands had been completed.

As the southern part of Sumatra extended eastward and formed the

narrow straits of Banca, many birds and insects and some Mammalia

would cross from one to the other, and thus produce a general

similarity of productions, while a few of the older inhabitants

remained, to reveal by their distinct forms, their different

origin. Unless we suppose some such changes in physical geography

to have occurred, the presence of peculiar species of birds and

mammals in such an island as Banca is a hopeless puzzle; and I

think I have shown that the changes required are by no means so

improbable as a mere glance at the map would lead us to suppose.

For our next example let us take the great islands of Sumatra and

Java. These approach so closely together, and the chain of

volcanoes that runs through them gives such an air of unity to

the two, that the idea of their having been recently dissevered

is immediately suggested. The natives of Java, however, go

further than this; for they actually have a tradition of the

catastrophe which broke them asunder, and fix its date at not

much more than a thousand years ago. It becomes interesting,

therefore, to see what support is given to this view by the

comparison of their animal productions.

The Mammalia have not been collected with sufficient completeness

in both islands to make a general comparison of much value, and

so many species have been obtained only as live specimens in

captivity, that their locality has often been erroneously given,

the island in which they were obtained being substituted for that

from which they originally came. Taking into consideration only

those whose distribution is more accurately known, we learn that

Sumatra is, in a zoological sense, more neatly related to Borneo

than it is to Java. The great man-like apes, the elephant, the

tapir, and the Malay bear, are all common to the two former

countries, while they are absent from the latter. Of the three

long-tailed monkeys (Semnopithecus) inhabiting Sumatra, one

extends into Borneo, but the two species of Java are both

peculiar to it. So also the great Malay deer (Rusa equina), and

the small Tragulus kanchil, are common to Sumatra and Borneo, but

do not extend into Java, where they are replaced by Tragulas

javanicus. The tiger, it is true, is found in Sumatra and Java,

but not in Borneo. But as this animal is known to swim well, it

may have found its way across the Straits of Sunda, or it may

have inhabited Java before it was separated from the mainland,

and from some unknown cause have ceased to exist in Borneo.

In Ornithology there is a little uncertainty owing to the birds

of Java and Sumatra being much better known than those of Borneo;

but the ancient separation of Java as an island is well

exhibited by the large number of its species which are not found

in any of the other islands. It possesses no less than seven

pigeons peculiar to itself, while Sumatra has only one. Of its

two parrots one extends into Borneo, but neither into Sumatra. Of

the fifteen species of woodpeckers inhabiting Sumatra only four

reach Java, while eight of them are found in Borneo and twelve in

the Malay peninsula. The two Trogons found in Java are peculiar

to it, while of those inhabiting Sumatra at least two extend to

Malacca and one to Borneo. There are a very large number of

birds, such as the great Argus pheasant, the fire-backed and

ocellated pheasants, the crested partridge (Rollulus coronatus),

the small Malacca parrot (Psittinus incertus), the great helmeted

hornbill (Buceroturus galeatus), the pheasant ground-cuckoo

(Carpococcyx radiatus), the rose-crested bee-eater (Nyctiornis

amicta), the great gaper (Corydon sumatranus), and the green-

crested gaper (Calyptomena viridis), and many others, which are

common to Malacca, Sumatra, and Borneo, but are entirely absent

from Java. On the other hand we have the peacock, the green

jungle cock, two blue ground thrushes (Arrenga cyanea and

Myophonus flavirostris), the fine pink-headed dove (Ptilonopus

porphyreus), three broad-tailed ground pigeons (Macropygia), and

many other interesting birds, which are found nowhere in the

Archipelago out of Java.

Insects furnish us with similar facts wherever sufficient data

are to be had, but owing to the abundant collections that have

been made in Java, an unfair preponderance may be given to that

island. This does not, however, seem to be the case with the true

Papilionidae or swallow-tailed butterflies, whose large size and

gorgeous colouring has led to their being collected more frequently

than other insects. Twenty-seven species are known from Java,

twenty-nine from Borneo, and only twenty-one from Sumatra. Four are

entirely confined to Java, while only two are peculiar to Borneo and

one to Sumatra. The isolation of Java will, however, be best shown by

grouping the islands in pairs, and indicating the number of species

common to each pair. Thus:--

Borneo  . .  .  . . 29 species

Sumatra . .  .  . . 21  do.    20 species common to both islands.

Borneo  . .  .  . . 29  do.  

Java .  . .  .  . . 27  do.    20    do.    do.

Sumatra . .  .  . . 21  do.

Java .  . .  .  . . 27  do.    11    do.    do.

Making some allowance for our imperfect knowledge of the Sumatran

species, we see that Java is more isolated from the two larger

islands than they are from each other, thus entirely confirming

the results given by the distribution of birds and Mammalia, and

rendering it almost certain that the last-named island was the

first to be completely separated from the Asiatic continent, and

that the native tradition of its having been recently separated

from Sumatra is entirely without foundation.

We are now able to trace out with some probability the course

of events. Beginning at the time when the whole of the Java sea,

the Gulf of Siam, and the Straits of Malacca were dry land,

forming with Borneo, Sumatra, and Java, a vast southern

prolongation of the Asiatic continent, the first movement would

be the sinking down of the Java sea, and the Straits of Sunda,

consequent on the activity of the Javanese volcanoes along the

southern extremity of the land, and leading to the complete

separation of that island. As the volcanic belt of Java and

Sumatra increased in activity, more and more of the land was

submerged, until first Borneo, and afterwards Sumatra, became

entirely severed. Since the epoch of the first disturbance,

several distinct elevations and depressions may have taken place,

and the islands may have been more than once joined with each

other or with the main land, and again separated. Successive

waves of immigration may thus have modified their animal

productions, and led to those anomalies in distribution which are

so difficult to account for by any single operation of elevation

or submergence. The form of Borneo, consisting of radiating

mountain chains with intervening broad alluvial valleys, suggests

the idea that it has once been much more submerged than it is at

present (when it would have somewhat resembled Celebes or Gilolo

in outline), and has been increased to its present dimensions by

the filling up of its gulfs with sedimentary matter, assisted by

gradual elevation of the land. Sumatra has also been evidently

much increased in size by the formation of alluvial plains along

its northeastern coasts.

There is one peculiarity in the productions of Java that is very

puzzling:--the occurrence of several species or groups

characteristic of the Siamese countries or of India, but which do

not occur in Borneo or Sumatra. Among Mammals the Rhinoceros

javanicus is the most striking example, for a distinct species

is found in Borneo and Sumatra, while the Javanese species occurs

in Burma and even in Bengal. Among birds, the small ground-dove,

Geopelia striata, and the curious bronze-coloured magpie,

Crypsirhina varians, are common to Java and Siam; while there are

in Java species of Pteruthius, Arrenga, Myiophonus, Zoothera,

Sturnopastor, and Estrelda, the near allies of which are found in

various parts of India, while nothing like them is known to

inhabit Borneo or Sumatra.

Such a curious phenomenon as this can only be understood by

supposing that, subsequent to the separation of Java, Borneo

became almost entirely submerged, and on its re-elevation was for

a time connected with the Malay peninsula and Sumatra, but not

with Java or Siam. Any geologist who knows how strata have been

contorted and tilted up, and how elevations and depressions must

often have occurred alternately, not once or twice only, but

scores and even hundreds of times, will have no difficulty in

admitting that such changes as have been here indicated, are not

in themselves improbable. The existence of extensive coal-beds in

Borneo and Sumatra, of such recent origin that the leaves which

abound in their shales are scarcely distinguishable from those of

the forests which now cover the country, proves that such changes

of level actually did take place; and it is a matter of much

interest, both to the geologist and to the philosophic

naturalist, to be able to form some conception of the order of

those changes, and to understand how they may have resulted in

the actual distribution of animal life in these countries; a

distribution which often presents phenomena so strange and

contradictory, that without taking such changes into

consideration we are unable even to imagine how they could have

been brought about.



(JUNE, JULY, 1856.)

THE islands of Bali and Lombock, situated at the eastern end of

Java, are particularly interesting. They are the only islands of

the whole Archipelago in which the Hindu religion still

maintains itself--and they form the extreme points of the two

great zoological divisions of the Eastern hemisphere; for

although so similar in external appearance and in all physical

features, they differ greatly in their natural productions. It

was after having spent two years in Borneo, Malacca and

Singapore, that I made a somewhat involuntary visit to these

islands on my way to Macassar. Had I been able to obtain a

passage direct to that place from Singapore, I should probably

never have gone near them, and should have missed some of the

most important discoveries of my whole expedition the East.

It was on the 13th of June, 1856, after a twenty days' passage

from Singapore in the "Kembang Djepoon" (Rose of Japan), a

schooner belonging to a Chinese merchant, manned by a Javanese

crew, and commanded by an English captain, that we cast anchor in

the dangerous roadstead of Bileling on the north side of the

island of Bali. Going on shore with the captain and the Chinese

supercargo, I was at once introduced to a novel and interesting

scene. We went first to the house of the Chinese Bandar, or chief

merchant, where we found a number of natives, well dressed, and

all conspicuously armed with krisses, displaying their large

handles of ivory or gold, or beautifully grained and polished wood.

The Chinamen had given up their national costume and adopted the

Malay dress, and could then hardly be distinguished from the

natives of the island--an indication of the close affinity of the

Malayan and Mongolian races. Under the thick shade of some mango-

trees close by the house, several women-merchants were selling

cotton goods; for here the women trade and work for the benefit

of their husbands, a custom which Mahometan Malays never adopt.

Fruit, tea, cakes, and sweetmeats were brought to us; many questions

were asked about our business and the state of trade in

Singapore, and we then took a walk to look at the village. It was

a very dull and dreary place; a collection of narrow lanes

bounded by high mud walls, enclosing bamboo houses, into some of

which we entered and were very kindly received.

During the two days that we remained here, I walked out into the

surrounding country to catch insects, shoot birds, and spy out

the nakedness or fertility of the land. I was both astonished and

delighted; for as my visit to Java was some years later, I had

never beheld so beautiful and well cultivated a district out of

Europe. A slightly undulating plain extends from the seacoast

about ten or twelve miles inland, where it is bounded by a wide

range of wooded and cultivated hills. Houses and villages, marked

out by dense clumps of cocoa-nut palms, tamarind and other fruit

trees, are dotted about in every direction; while between then

extend luxuriant rice-grounds, watered by an elaborate system of

irrigation that would be the pride of the best cultivated parts

of Europe. The whole surface of the country is divided into

irregular patches, following the undulations of the ground, from

many acres to a few perches in extent, each of which is itself

perfectly level, but stands a few inches or several feet above or

below those adjacent to it. Every one of these patches can be

flooded or drained at will by means of a system of ditches and

small channels, into which are diverted the whole of the streams

that descend from the mountains. Every patch now bore crops in

various stages of growth, some almost ready for cutting, and all

in the most flourishing condition and of the most exquisite green


The sides of the lanes and bridle roads were often edged with

prickly Cacti and a leafless Euphorbia, but the country being so

highly cultivated there was not much room for indigenous

vegetation, except upon the sea-beach. We saw plenty of the fine

race of domestic cattle descended from the Bos banteng of Java,

driven by half naked boys, or tethered in pasture-grounds. They

are large and handsome animals, of a light brown colour, with

white legs, and a conspicuous oval patch behind of the same

colour. Wild cattle of the same race are said to be still found

in the mountains. In so well-cultivated a country it was not to

be expected that I could do much in natural history, and my

ignorance of how important a locality this was for the

elucidation of the geographical distribution of animals, caused

me to neglect obtaining some specimens which I never met with

again. One of these was a weaver bird with a bright yellow head,

which built its bottle-shaped nests by dozens on some trees near

the beach. It was the Ploceus hypoxantha, a native of Java; and

here, at the extreme limits of its range westerly, I shot and

preserved specimens of a wagtail-thrush, an oriole, and some

starlings, all species found in Java, and some of them peculiar

to that island. I also obtained some beautiful butterflies,

richly marked with black and orange on a white ground, and which

were the most abundant insects in the country lanes. Among these

was a new species, which I have named Pieris tamar.

Leaving Bileling, a pleasant sail of two days brought us to

Ampanam in the island of Lombock, where I proposed to remain till

I could obtain a passage to Macassar. We enjoyed superb views of

the twin volcanoes of Bali and Lombock, each about eight thousand

feet high, which form magnificent objects at sunrise and sunset,

when they rise out of the mists and clouds that surround their

bases, glowing with the rich and changing tints of these the most

charming moments in a tropical day.

The bay or roadstead of Ampanam is extensive, and being at this

season sheltered from the prevalent southeasterly winds, was as

smooth as a lake. The beach of black volcanic sand is very steep,

and there is at all times, a heavy surf upon it, which during

spring-tides increases to such an extent that it is often

impossible for boats to land, and many serious accidents have

occurred. Where we lay anchored, about a quarter of a mile from

the shore, not the slightest swell was perceptible, but on

approaching nearer undulations began, which rapidly increased, so

as to form rollers which toppled over onto the beach at regular

intervals with a noise like thunder. Sometimes this surf

increases suddenly during perfect calms to as great a force and

fury as when a gale of wind is blowing, beating to pieces all

boats that may not have been hauled sufficiently high upon the

beach, and carrying away uncautious natives. This violent surf is

probably in some way dependent upon the swell of the great

southern ocean and the violent currents that flow through the

Straits of Lombock. These are so uncertain that vessels preparing

to anchor in the bay are sometimes suddenly swept away into the

straits, and are not able to get back again for a fortnight.

What seamen call the "ripples" are also very violent in the

straits, the sea appearing to boil and foam and dance like the

rapids below a cataract; vessels are swept about helplessly, and

small ones are occasionally swamped in the finest weather and

under the brightest skies.

I felt considerably relieved when all my boxes and myself had

passed in safety through the devouring surf, which the natives

look upon with some pride, saying, that "their sea is always

hungry, and eats up everything it can catch." I was kindly

received by Mr. Carter, an Englishman, who is one of the Bandars

or licensed traders of the port, who offered me hospitality and

every assistance during my stay. His house, storehouses, and

offices were in a yard surrounded by a tall bamboo fence, and

were entirely constructed of bamboo with a thatch of grass, the

only available building materials. Even these were now very

scarce, owing to the great consumption in rebuilding the place

since the great fire some months before, which in an hour or two

had destroyed every building in the town.

The next day I went to see Mr. S., another merchant to whom I had

brought letters of introduction, and who lived about seven miles

off. Mr. Carter kindly lent me a horse, and I was accompanied by

a young Dutch gentleman residing at Ampanam, who offered to be my

guide. We first passed through the town and suburbs along a

straight road bordered by mud walls and a fine avenue of lofty

trees; then through rice-fields, irrigated in the same manner as

I had seen them at Bileling; and afterwards over sandy pastures

near the sea, and occasionally along the beach itself. Mr. S.

received us kindly, and offered me a residence at his house

should I think the neighbourhood favourable for my pursuits.

After an early breakfast we went out to explore, taking guns and

insect nets. We reached some low hills which seemed to offer the

most favourable ground, passing over swamps, sandy flats

overgrown with coarse sedges, and through pastures and cultivated

grounds, finding however very little in the way of either birds

or insects. On our way we passed one or two human skeletons,

enclosed within a small bamboo fence, with the clothes, pillow,

mat, and betel-box of the unfortunate individual, who had been

either murdered or executed. Returning to the house, we found a

Balinese chief and his followers on a visit. Those of higher rank

sat on chairs, the others squatted on the floor. The chief very

coolly asked for beer and brandy, and helped himself and his

followers, apparently more out of curiosity than anything else as

regards the beer, for it seemed very distasteful to them, while

they drank the brandy in tumblers with much relish.

Returning to Ampanam, I devoted myself for some days to shooting

the birds of the neighbourhood. The fine fig-trees of the

avenues, where a market was held, were tenanted by superb orioles

(Oriolus broderpii) of a rich orange colour, and peculiar to this

island and the adjacent ones of Sumbawa and Flores. All round the

town were abundance of the curious Tropidorhynchus timoriensis,

allied to the Friar bird of Australia. They are here called

"Quaich-quaich," from their strange loud voice, which seems to

repeat these words in various and not unmelodious intonations.

Every day boys were to be seen walking along the roads and by the

hedges and ditches, catching dragonflies with birdlime. They

carry a slender stick, with a few twigs at the end well annointed,

so that the least touch captures the insect, whose wings are

pulled off before it is consigned to a small basket. The dragon-

flies are so abundant at the time of the rice flowering that

thousands are soon caught in this way. The bodies are fried in

oil with onions and preserved shrimps, or sometimes alone, and

are considered a great delicacy. In Borneo, Celebes, and many

other islands, the larvae of bees and wasps are eaten, either

alive as pulled out of the cells, or fried like the dragonflies.

In the Moluccas the grubs of the palm-beetles (Calandra) are

regularly brought to market in bamboos and sold for food; and

many of the great horned Lamellicorn beetles are slightly roasted

on the embers and eaten whenever met with. The superabundance of

insect life is therefore turned to some account by these


Finding that birds were not very numerous, and hearing much of

Labuan Tring at the southern extremity of the bay, where there

was said to be much uncultivated country and plenty of birds as

well as deer and wild pigs, I determined to go there with my two

servants, Ali, the Malay lad from Borneo, and Manuel, a Portuguese

of Malacca accustomed to bird-skinning. I hired a native boat with

outriggers to take us with our small quantity of luggage, on a day's

rowing and tracking along the shore brought us to the place.

I had a note of introduction to an Amboynese Malay, and obtained

the use of part of his house to live and work in. His name was

"Inchi Daud" (Mr. David), and he was very civil; but his

accommodations were limited, and he could only hire me part of

his reception-room. This was the front part of a bamboo house

(reached by a ladder of about six rounds very wide apart), and

having a beautiful view over the bay. However, I soon made what

arrangements were possible, and then set to work. The country

around was pretty and novel to me, consisting of abrupt volcanic

hills enclosing flat valleys or open plains. The hills were

covered with a dense scrubby bush of bamboos and prickly trees

and shrubs, the plains were adorned with hundreds of noble palm-

trees, and in many places with a luxuriant shrubby vegetation.

Birds were plentiful and very interesting, and I now saw for the

first time many Australian forms that are quite absent from the

islands westward. Small white cockatoos were abundant, and their

loud screams, conspicuous white colour, and pretty yellow crests,

rendered them a very important feature in the landscape. This is

the most westerly point on the globe where any of the family are

to be found. Some small honeysuckers of the genus Ptilotis, and

the strange moundmaker (Megapodius gouldii), are also here first

met with on the traveller's journey eastward. The last mentioned

bird requires a fuller notice.

The Megapodidae are a small family of birds found only in

Australia and the surrounding islands, but extending as far as

the Philippines and Northwest Borneo. They are allied to the

gallinaceous birds, but differ from these and from all others in

never sitting upon their eggs, which they bury in sand, earth, or

rubbish, and leave to be hatched by the heat of the sun or by

fermentation. They are all characterised by very large feet and

long curved claws, and most of the species of Megapodius rake and

scratch together all kinds of rubbish, dead leaves, sticks,

stones, earth, rotten wood, etc., until they form a large mound,

often six feet high and twelve feet across, in the middle of

which they bury their eggs. The natives can tell by the condition

of these mounds whether they contain eggs or not; and they rob

them whenever they can, as the brick-red eggs (as large as those

of a swan) are considered a great delicacy. A number of birds are

said to join in making these mounds and lay their eggs together,

so that sometimes forty or fifty may be found. The mounds are to

be met with here and there in dense thickets, and are great

puzzles to strangers, who cannot understand who can possibly have

heaped together cartloads of rubbish in such out-of-the-way

places; and when they inquire of the natives they are but little

wiser, for it almost always appears to them the wildest romance

to be told that it is all done by birds. The species found in

Lombock is about the size of a small hen, and entirely of dark

olive and brown tints. It is a miscellaneous feeder, devouring

fallen fruits, earthworms, snails, and centipedes, but the flesh

is white and well-flavoured when properly cooked.

The large green pigeons were still better eating, and were much

more plentiful. These fine birds, exceeding our largest tame

pigeons in size, abounded on the palm-trees, which now bore huge

bunches of fruits--mere hard globular nuts, about an inch in

diameter, and covered with a dry green skin and a very small

portion of pulp. Looking at the pigeon's bill and head, it would

seem impossible that it could swallow such large masses, or that

it could obtain any nourishment from them; yet I often shot these

birds with several palm-fruits in the crop, which generally burst

when they fell to the ground. I obtained here eight species of

Kingfishers; among which was a very beautiful new one, named by

Mr. Gould, Halcyon fulgidus. It was found always in thickets,

away from water, and seemed to feed on snails and insects picked

up from the ground after the manner of the great Laughing Jackass

of Australia. The beautiful little violet and orange species

(Ceyx rufidorsa) is found in similar situations, and darts

rapidly along like a flame of fire. Here also I first met with

the pretty Australian Bee-eater (Merops ornatus). This elegant

little bird sits on twigs in open places, gazing eagerly around,

and darting off at intervals to seize some insect which it sees

flying near; returning afterwards to the same twig to swallow it.

Its long, sharp, curved bill, the two long narrow feathers in its

tail, its beautiful green plumage varied with rich brown and

black and vivid blue on the throat, render it one of the most

graceful and interesting objects a naturalist can see for the

first time.

Of all the birds of Lombock, however, I sought most after the

beautiful ground thrushes (Pitta concinna), and always thought

myself lucky if I obtained one. They were found only in the dry

plains densely covered with thickets, and carpeted at this season

with dead leaves. They were so shy that it was very difficult to

get a shot at them, and it was only after a good deal of practice

that I discovered low to do it. The habit of these birds is to

hop about on the ground, picking up insects, and on the least

alarm to run into the densest thicket or take a flight close to

the ground. At intervals they utter a peculiar cry of two notes

which when once heard is easily recognised, and they can also be

heard hopping along among the dry leaves.

My practice was, therefore, to walk cautiously along the narrow

pathways with which the country abounded, and on detecting any sign

of a Pitta's vicinity to stand motionless and give a gentle whistle

occasionally, imitating the notes as near as possible. After half

an hour's waiting I was often rewarded by seeing the pretty bird

hopping along in the thicket. Then I would perhaps lose sight of

it again, until leaving my gun raised and ready for a shot, a

second glimpse would enable me to secure my prize, and admire its

soft puffy plumage and lovely colours. The upper part is rich

soft green, the head jet black with a stripe of blue and brown

over each eye; at the base of the tail and on the shoulders are

bands of bright silvery blue; the under side is delicate buff

with a stripe of rich crimson, bordered with black on the belly.

Beautiful grass-green doves, little crimson and black flower-

peckers, large black cuckoos, metallic king-crows, golden

orioles, and the fine jungle-cocks--the origin of all our

domestic breeds of poultry--were among the birds that chiefly

attracted my attention during our stay at Labuan Tring.

The most characteristic feature of the jungle was its thorniness.

The shrubs were thorny; the creepers were thorny; the bamboos

even were thorny. Everything grew zigzag and jagged, and in an

inextricable tangle, so that to get through the bush with gun or

net or even spectacles, was generally not to be done, and insect-

catching in such localities was out of the question. It was in

such places that the Pittas often lurked, and when shot it became

a matter of some difficulty to secure the bird, and seldom

without a heavy payment of pricks and scratches and torn clothes

could the prize be won. The dry volcanic soil and arid climate

seem favourable to the production of such stunted and thorny

vegetation, for the natives assured me that this was nothing to

the thorns and prickles of Sumbawa whose surface still bears the

covering of volcanic ashes thrown out forty years ago by the

terrible eruption of Tomboro.

Among the shrubs and trees that are not prickly the Apocynaceae

were most abundant, their bilobed fruits of varied form and colour

and often of most tempting appearance, hanging everywhere by the

waysides as if to invite to destruction the weary traveller who may

be unaware of their poisonous properties. One in particular with a

smooth shining skin of a golden orange colour rivals in appearance

the golden apples of the Hesperides, and has great attractions for

many birds, from the white cockatoos to the little yellow Zosterops,

who feast on the crimson seeds which are displayed when the fruit

bursts open. The great palm called "Gubbong" by the natives, a

species of Corypha, is the most striking feature of the plains,

where it grows by thousands and appears in three different

states--in leaf, in flower and fruit, or dead. It has a lofty

cylindrical stem about a hundred feet high and two to three feet

in diameter; the leaves are large and fan-shaped, and fall off

when the tree flowers, which it does only once in its life in a

huge terminal spike, upon which are produced masses of a smooth

round fruit of a green colour rind about an inch in diameter.

When those ripen and fall the tree dies, and remains standing a

year or two before it falls. Trees in leaf only are by far the

most numerous, then those in flower and fruit, while dead trees

are scattered here and there among them. The trees in fruit are

the resort of the great green fruit pigeons, which have been

already mentioned. Troops of monkeys (Macacus cynoraolgus) may

often be seen occupying a tree, showering down the fruit in great

profusion, chattering when disturbed and making an enormous

rustling as they scamper off among the dead palm leaves; while

the pigeons have a loud booming voice more like the roar of a

wild beast than the note of a bird.

My collecting operations here were carried on under more than

usual difficulties. One small room had to serve for eating,

sleeping and working,and one for storehouse and dissecting-room;

in it were no shelves, cupboards, chairs or tables; ants swarmed in

every part of it, and dogs, cats and fowls entered it at pleasure.

Besides this it was the parlour and reception-room of my host, and

I was obliged to consult his convenience and that of the numerous

guests who visited us. My principal piece of furniture was a box,

which served me as a dining table, a seat while skinning birds,

and as the receptacle of the birds when skinned and dried.

To keep them free from ants we borrowed, with somedifficulty, an old

bench, the four legs of which being placed in cocoa-nut shells filled

with water kept us tolerably free from these pests. The box and the

bench were, however, literally the only places where anything could

be put away, and they were generally well occupied by two insect boxes

and about a hundred birds' skins in process of drying. It may therefore

be easily conceived that when anything bulky or out of the common way was

collected, the question "Where is it to be put?" was rather a

difficult one to answer. All animal substances moreover require

some time to dry thoroughly, emit a very disagreeable odour while

doing so, and are particularly attractive to ants, flies, dogs,

rats, cats, and other vermin, calling for special cautions and

constant supervision, which under the circumstances above

described were impossible.

My readers may now partially understand why a travelling

naturalist of limited means, like myself, does so much less than

is expected or than he would himself wish to do. It would be

interesting to preserve skeletons of many birds and animals,

reptiles and fishes in spirits, skins of the larger animals,

remarkable fruits and woods and the most curious articles of

manufacture and commerce; but it will be seen that under the

circumstances I have just described, it would have been impossible

to add these to the collections which were my own more especial

favourites. When travelling by boat the difficulties are as great

or greater, and they are not diminished when the journey is by

land. It was absolutely necessary therefore to limit my

collections to certain groups to which I could devote constant

personal attention, and thus secure from destruction or decay

what had been often obtained by much labour and pains.

While Manuel sat skinning his birds of an afternoon, generally

surrounded by a little crowd of Malays and Sassaks (as the

indigenes of Lombock are termed), he often held forth to them

with the air of a teacher, and was listened to with profound

attention. He was very fond of discoursing on the "special

providences" of which he believed he was daily the subject.

"Allah has been merciful today," he would say--for although a

Christian he adopted the Mahometan mode of speech- "and has given

us some very fine birds; we can do nothing without him." Then one

of the Malays would reply, "To be sure, birds are like mankind;

they have their appointed time to die; when that time comes

nothing can save them, and if it has not come you cannot kill

them." A murmur of assent follow, until sentiments and cries of

"Butul! Butul!" (Right, right.) Then Manuel would tell a long

story of one of his unsuccessful hunts--how he saw some fine

bird and followed it a long way, and then missed it, and again

found it, and shot two or three times at it, but could never hit

it, "Ah!" says an old Malay, "its time was not come, and so it

was impossible for you to kill it." A doctrine is this which is

very consoling to the bad marksman, and which quite accounts for

the facts, but which is yet somehow not altogether satisfactory.

It is universally believed in Lombock that some men have the

power to turn themselves into crocodiles, which they do for the

sake of devouring their enemies, and many strange tales are told

of such transformations. I was therefore rather surprised one

evening to hear the following curious fact stated, and as it was

not contradicted by any of the persons present, I am inclined to

accept it provisionally as a contribution to the Natural History

of the island. A Bornean Malay who had been for many years

resident here said to Manuel, "One thing is strange in this

country--the scarcity of ghosts." "How so? "asked Manuel. "Why,

you know," said the Malay, "that in our countries to the

westward, if a man dies or is killed, we dare not pass near the

place at night, for all sorts of noises are heard which show that

ghosts are about. But here there are numbers of men killed, and

their bodies lie unburied in the fields and by the roadside, and

yet you can walk by them at night and never hear or see anything

at all, which is not the case in our country, as you know very

well." "Certainly I do," said Manuel; and so it was settled that

ghosts were very scarce, if not altogether unknown in Lombock. I

would observe, however, that as the evidence is purely negative

we should be wanting in scientific caution if we accepted this

fact as sufficiently well established.

One evening I heard Manuel, Ali, and a Malay man whispering

earnestly together outside the door, and could distinguish

various allusions to "krisses," throat-cutting, heads, etc. etc.

At length Manuel came in, looking very solemn and frightened, and

said to me in English, "Sir--must take care,--no safe here;--want

cut throat." On further inquiry, I found that the Malay had been

telling them that the Rajah had just sent down an order to the

village, that they were to get a certain number of heads for an

offering in the temples to secure a good crop of rice. Two or

three other Malays and Bugis, as well as the Amboyna man in whose

house we lived, confirmed this account, and declared that it was

a regular thing every year, and that it was necessary to keep a

good watch and never go out alone. I laughed at the whole thing,

and tried to persuade them that it was a mere tale, but to no

effect. They were all firmly persuaded that their lives were in

danger. Manuel would not go out shooting alone, and I was obliged

to accompany him every morning, but I soon gave him the slip in

the jungle. Ali was afraid to go and look for firewood without a

companion, and would not even fetch water from the well a few

yards behind the house unless armed with an enormous spear. I was

quite sure all the time that no such order had been sent or

received, and that we were in perfect safety. This was well shown

shortly afterwards, when an American sailor ran away from his

ship on the east side of the island, and made his way on foot and

unarmed across to Ampanam, having met with the greatest

hospitality on the whole route. Nowhere would the smallest

payment be taken for the food and lodging which were willingly

furbished him. On pointing out this fact to Manuel, he replied,

"He one bad man,--run away from his ship--no one can believe word

he say;" and so I was obliged to leave him in the uncomfortable

persuasion that he might any day have his throat cut.

A circumstance occurred here which appeared to throw some light

on the cause of the tremendous surf at Ampanam. One evening I

heard a strange rumbling noise, and at the same time the house

shook slightly. Thinking it might be thunder, I asked, "What is

that?" "It is an earthquake," answered Inchi Daud, my host; and

he then told me that slight shocks were occasionally felt there,

but he had never known them to be severe. This happened on the day of

the last quarter of the moon, and consequently when tides were low and

the surf usually at its weakest. On inquiry afterwards at Ampanam, I

found that no earthquake had been noticed, but that on one night there

had been a very heavy surf, which shook the house, and the next day

there was a very high tide, the water having flooded Mr. Carter's

premises, higher than he had ever known it before. These unusual

tides occur every now and then, and are not thought much of; but

by careful inquiry I ascertained that the surf had occurred on

the very night I had felt the earthquake at Labuan Tring, nearly

twenty miles off. This would seem to indicate, that although the

ordinary heavy surf may be due to the swell of the great Southern

Ocean confined in a narrow channel, combined with a peculiar form

of bottom near the shore, yet the sudden heavy surfs and high tides

that occur occasionally in perfectly calm weather, may be due to

slight upheavals of the ocean-bed in this eminently volcanic region.



HAVING made a very fine and interesting collection of the birds

of Labuan Tring, I took leave of my kind host, Inchi Daud, and

returned to Ampanam to await an opportunity to reach Macassar. As

no vessel had arrived bound for that port, I determined to make

an excursion into the interior of the island, accompanied by Mr.

Ross, an Englishman born in the Keeling Islands, and now employed

by the Dutch Government to settle the affairs of a missionary who

had unfortunately become bankrupt here. Mr. Carter kindly lent me

a horse, and Mr. Ross took his native groom.

Our route for some distance lay along a perfectly level country

bearing ample crops of rice. The road was straight and generally

bordered with lofty trees forming a due avenue. It was at first

sandy, afterwards grassy, with occasional streams and mudholes.

At a distance about four miles we reached Mataram, the capital of

the island and the residence of the Rajah. It is a large village

with wide streets bordered by a magnificent avenue of trees, and

low houses concealed behind mud walls. Within this royal city no

native of the lower orders is allowed to ride, and our attendant,

a Javanese, was obliged to dismount and lead his horse while we

rode slowly through. The abodes of the Rajah and of the High

Priest are distinguished by pillars of red brick constructed with

much taste; but the palace itself seemed to differ but little

from the ordinary houses of the country. Beyond Mataram and close

to it is Karangassam, the ancient residence of the native or

Sassak Rajahs before the conquest of the island by the Balinese.

Soon after passing Mataram the country began gradually to rise in

gentle undulations, swelling occasionally into low hills towards

the two mountainous tracts in the northern and southern parts of

the island. It was now that I first obtained an adequate idea of

one of the most wonderful systems of cultivation in the world,

equalling all that is related of Chinese industry, and as far as

I know surpassing in the labour that has been bestowed upon it

any tract of equal extent in the most civilized countries of

Europe. I rode through this strange garden utterly amazed and

hardly able to realize the fact that in this remote and little

known island, from which all Europeans except a few traders at

the port are jealously excluded, many hundreds of square miles of

irregularly undulating country have been so skillfully terraced

and levelled, and so permeated by artificial channels, that every

portion of it can be irrigated and dried at pleasure. According

as the slope of the ground is more or less rapid, each terraced

plot consists in some places of many acres, in others of a few

square yards. We saw them in every state of cultivation; some in

stubble, some being ploughed, some with rice-crops in various

stages of growth. Here were luxuriant patches of tobacco; there,

cucumbers, sweet potatoes, yams, beans or Indian-corn varied the

scene. In some places the ditches were dry, in others little

streams crossed our road and were distributed over lands about to

be sown or planted. The banks which bordered every terrace rose

regularly in horizontal lines above each other; sometimes

rounding an abrupt knoll and looking like a fortification, or

sweeping around some deep hollow and forming on a gigantic scale

the seats of an amphitheatre. Every brook and rivulet had been

diverted from its bed, and instead of flowing along the lowest

ground, were to be found crossing our road half-way up an ascent,

yet bordered by ancient trees and moss-grown stones so as to have

all the appearance of a natural channel, and bearing testimony to

the remote period at which the work had been done. As we advanced

further into the country, the scene was diversified by abrupt

rocky bills, by steep ravines, and by clumps of bamboos and palm-

trees near houses or villages; while in the distance the fine

range of mountains of which Lombock Peak, eight thousand feet

high, is the culminating point, formed a fit background to a view

scarcely to be surpassed either in human interest or picturesque


Along the first part of our road we passed hundreds of women

carrying rice, fruit, and vegetables to market; and further on, an

almost uninterrupted line of horses laden with rice in bags or in

the car, on their way to the port of Ampanam. At every few miles

along the road, seated under shady trees or slight sheds, were

sellers of sugar-cane, palm-wine, cooked rice, salted eggs, and

fried plantains, with a few other native delicacies. At these

stalls a hearty meal may be made for a penny, but we contented

ourselves with drinking some sweet palm-wine, a most delicious

beverage in the heat of the day. After having travelled about

twenty miles we reached a higher and drier region, where, water

being scarce, cultivation was confined to the little fiats

bordering the streams. Here the country was as beautiful as

before, but of a different character; consisting of undulating

downs of short turf interspersed with fine clumps of trees and

bushes, sometimes the woodland, sometimes the open ground

predominating. We only passed through one small patch of true

forest, where we were shaded by lofty trees, and saw around us a

dark and dense vegetation, highly agreeable after the heat and

glare of the open country.

At length, about an hour after noon, we reached our destination--

the village of Coupang, situated nearly in the centre of the

island--and entered the outer court of a house belonging to one of

the chiefs with whom my friend Mr. Ross had a slight acquaintance.

Here we were requested to seat ourselves under an open den with a

raised floor of bamboo, a place used to receive visitors and hold

audiences. Turning our horses to graze on the luxuriant glass of

the courtyard, we waited until the great man's Malay interpreter

appeared, who inquired our business and informed us that the Pumbuckle

(chief) was at the Rajah's house, but would soon be back. As we had

not yet breakfasted, we begged he would get us something to eat,

which be promised to do as soon as possible. It was however about

two hours before anything appeared, when a small tray was brought

containing two saucers of rice, four small fried fish, and a few

vegetables. Having made as good a breakfast as we could, we strolled

about the village, and returning, amused ourselves by conversation

with a number of men and boys who gathered around us; and by

exchanging glances and smiles with a number of women and girls who

peeped at us through half-opened doors and other crevices. Two little

boys named Mousa and Isa (Moses and Jesus) were great friends with

us, and an impudent little rascal called Kachang (a bean) made us

all laugh by his mimicry and antics.

At length, about four o'clock, the Pumbuckle made his appearance,

and we informed him of our desire to stay with him a few days, to

shoot birds and see the country. At this he seemed somewhat

disturbed, and asked if we had brought a letter from the Anak

Agong (Son of Heaven) which is the title of the Rajah of Lombock.

This we had not done, thinking it quite unnecessary; and he then

abruptly told us that he must go and speak to his Rajah, to see

if we could stay. Hours passed away, night came, and he did not

return. I began to think we were suspected of some evil designs,

for the Pumbuckle was evidently afraid of getting himself into

trouble. He is a Sassak prince, and, though a supporter of the

present Rajah, is related to some of the heads of a conspiracy

which was quelled a few years since.

About five o'clock a pack-horse bearing my guns and clothes

arrived, with my men Ali and Manuel, who had come on foot. The

sun set, and it soon became dark, and we got rather hungry as we

sat wearily under the shed and no one came. Still hour after hour

we waited, until about nine o'clock, the Pumbuckle, the Rajah,

some priests, and a number of their followers arrived and took

their seats around us. We shook hands, and for some minutes there

was a dead silence. Then the Rajah asked what we wanted; to which

Mr. Ross replied by endeavouring to make them understand who we

were, and why we had come, and that we had no sinister intentions

whatever; and that we had not brought a letter from the "Anak

Agong," merely because we had thought it quite unnecessary. A

long conversation in the Bali language then took place, and

questions were asked about my guns, and what powder I had, and

whether I used shot or bullets; also what the birds were for, and

how I preserved them, and what was done with them in England.

Each of my answers and explanations was followed by a low and

serious conversation which we could not understand, but the

purport of which we could guess. They were evidently quite

puzzled, and did not believe a word we had told them. They then

inquired if we were really English, and not Dutch; and although

we strongly asserted our nationality, they did not seem to

believe us.

After about an hour, however, they brought us some supper (which

was the same as the breakfast, but without the fish), and after

it some very weak coffee and pumpkins boiled with sugar. Having

discussed this, a second conference took place; questions were

again asked, and the answers again commented on. Between whiles

lighter topics were discussed. My spectacles (concave glasses)

were tried in succession by three or four old men, who could not

make out why they could not see through them, and the fact no

doubt was another item of suspicion against me. My beard, too,

was the subject of some admiration, and many questions were asked

about personal peculiarities which it is not the custom to allude

to in European society. At length, about one in the morning, the

whole party rose to depart, and, after conversing some time at

the gate, all went away. We now begged the interpreter, who with

a few boys and men remained about us, to show us a place to sleep

in, at which he seemed very much surprised, saying he thought we

were very well accommodated where we were. It was quite chilly,

and we were very thinly clad and had brought no blankets, but all

we could get after another hour's talk was a native mat and

pillow, and a few old curtains to hang round three sides of the

open shed and protect us a little from the cold breeze. We passed

the rest of the night very uncomfortably, and determined to

return in the morning and not submit any longer to such shabby


We rose at daybreak, but it was near an hour before the

interpreter made his appearance. We then asked to have some

coffee and to see the Pumbuckle, as we wanted a horse for Ali,

who was lame, and wished to bid him adieu. The man looked puzzled

at such unheard--of demands and vanished into the inner court,

locking the door behind him and leaving us again to our

meditations. An hour passed and no one came, so I ordered the

horses to be saddled and the pack-horse to be loaded, and

prepared to start. Just then the interpreter came up on horse

back, and looked aghast at our preparations. "Where is the

Pumbuckle?" we asked. "Gone to the Rajah's," said he. "We are

going," said I. "Oh! pray don't," said he; "wait a little; they

are having a consultation, and some priests are coming to see

you, and a chief is going off to Mataram to ask the permission of

the Anak Agong for you to stay." This settled the matter. More

talk, more delay, and another eight or ten hours' consultation

were not to be endured; so we started at once, the poor

interpreter almost weeping at our obstinacy and hurry, and

assuring us "the Pumbuckle would be very sorry, and the Rajah

would be very sorry, and if we would but wait all would be

right." I gave Ali my horse, and started on foot, but he

afterwards mounted behind Mr. Ross's groom, and we got home very

well, though rather hot and tired.

At Mataram we called at the house of Gusti Gadioca, one of the

princes of Lombock, who was a friend of Mr. Carter's, and who had

promised to show me the guns made by native workmen. Two guns

were exhibited, one six, the other seven feet long, and of a

proportionably large bore. The barrels were twisted and well

finished, though not so finely worked as ours. The stock was well

made, and extended to the end of the barrel. Silver and gold

ornament was inlaid over most of the surface, but the locks were

taken from English muskets. The Gusti assured me, however, that

the Rajah had a man who made locks and also rifled barrels. The

workshop where these guns are made and the tools used were next

shown us, and were very remarkable. An open shed with a couple of

small mud forges were the chief objects visible. The bellows

consisted of two bamboo cylinders, with pistons worked by hand.

They move very easily, having a loose stuffing of feathers

thickly set round the piston so as to act as a valve, and produce

a regular blast. Both cylinders communicate with the same nozzle,

one piston rising while the other falls. An oblong piece of iron

on the ground was the anvil, and a small vice was fixed on the

projecting root of a tree outside. These, with a few files and

hammers, were literally the only tools with which an old man

makes these fine guns, finishing then himself from the rough iron

and wood.

I was anxious to know how they bored these long barrels, which

seemed perfectly true and are said to shoot admirably; and, on

asking the Gusti, received the enigmatical answer: "We use a

basket full of stones." Being utterly unable to imagine what he

could mean, I asked if I could see how they did it, and one of

the dozen little boys around us was sent to fetch the basket. He

soon returned with this most extraordinary boring-machine, the

mode of using which the Gusti then explained to me. It was simply

a strong bamboo basket, through the bottom of which was stuck

upright a pole about three feet long, kept in its place by a few

sticks tied across the top with rattans.

The bottom of the pole has an iron ring, and a hole in which

four-cornered borers of hardened iron can be fitted. The barrel

to be bored is buried upright in the ground, the borer is

inserted into it, the top of the stick or vertical shaft is held

by a cross-piece of bamboo with a hole in it, and the basket is

filled with stones to get the required weight. Two boys turn the

bamboo round. The barrels are made in pieces of about eighteen

inches long, which are first bored small, and then welded

together upon a straight iron rod. The whole barrel is then

worked with borers of gradually increasing size, and in three

days the boring is finished. The whole matter was explained in

such a straightforward manner that I have no doubt the process

described to me was that actually used; although, when examining

one of the handsome, well-finished, and serviceable guns, it was

very hard to realize the fact that they had been made from first

to last with tools hardly sufficient for an English blacksmith to

make a horseshoe.

The day after we returned from our excursion, the Rajah came to

Ampanam to a feast given by Gusti Gadioca, who resides there; and

soon after his arrival we went to have an audience. We found him

in a large courtyard sitting on a mat under a shady tree; and all

his followers, to the number of three or four hundred, squatting

on the ground in a large circle round him. He wore a sarong or

Malay petticoat and a green jacket. He was a man about thirty-

five years of age, and of a pleasing countenance, with some

appearance of intellect combined with indecision. We bowed, and

took our seats on the ground near some chiefs we were acquainted

with, for while the Rajah sits no one can stand or sit higher. He

just inquired who I was, and what I was doing in Lombock, and

then requested to see some of my birds. I accordingly sent for

one of my boxes of bird-skins and one of insects, which he

examined carefully, and seemed much surprised that they could be

so well preserved. We then had a little conversation about Europe

and the Russian war, in which all natives take an interest.

Having heard much of a country-seat of the Rajah's called Gunong

Sari, I took the opportunity to ask permission to visit it and

shoot a few birds there which he immediately granted. I then

thanked him, and we took our leave.

An hour after, his son came to visit Mr. Carter accompanied by

about a hundred followers, who all sat on the ground while he

came into the open shed where Manuel was skinning birds. After

some time he went into the house, had a bed arranged to sleep a

little, then drank some wine, and after an hour or two had dinner

brought him from the Gusti's house, which he ate with eight of

the principal priests and princes, he pronounced a blessing over

the rice and commenced eating first, after which the rest fell

to. They rolled up balls of rice in their hands, dipped them in

the gravy and swallowed them rapidly, with little pieces of meat

and fowl cooked in a variety of ways. A boy fanned the young

Rajah while eating. He was a youth of about fifteen, and had

already three wives. All wore the kris, or Malay crooked dagger,

on the beauty and value of which they greatly pride themselves. A

companion of the Rajah's had one with a golden handle, in which

were set twenty-eight diamonds and several other jewels. He said

it had cost him ú700. The sheaths are of ornamental wood and

ivory, often covered on one side with gold. The blades are

beautifully veined with white metal worked into the iron, and

they are kept very carefully. Every man without exception carries

a kris, stuck behind into the large waist-cloth which all wear,

and it is generally the most valuable piece of property he


A few days afterwards our long-talked-of excursion to Gunong Sari

took place. Our party was increased by the captain and supercargo

of a Hamburg ship loading with rice for China. We were mounted on

a very miscellaneous lot of Lombock ponies, which we had some

difficulty in supplying with the necessary saddles, etc.; and most

of us had to patch up our girths, bridles, or stirrup-leathers

as best we could. We passed through Mataram, where we were joined

by our friend Gusti Gadioca, mounted on a handsome black horse,

and riding as all the natives do, without saddle or stirrups,

using only a handsome saddlecloth and very ornamental bridle.

About three miles further, along pleasant byways, brought us to

the place. We entered through a rather handsome brick gateway

supported by hideous Hindu deities in stone. Within was an

enclosure with two square fish-ponds and some fine trees; then

another gateway through which we entered into a park. On the

right was a brick house, built somewhat in the Hindu style, and

placed on a high terrace or platform; on the left a large fish-

pond, supplied by a little rivulet which entered it out of the

mouth of a gigantic crocodile well executed in brick and stone.

The edges of the pond were bricked, and in the centre rose a

fantastic and picturesque pavilion ornamented with grotesque

statues. The pond was well stocked with fine fish, which come

every morning to be fed at the sound of a wooden gong which is

hung near for the purpose. On striking it a number of fish

immediately came out of the masses of weed with which the pond

abounds, and followed us along the margin expecting food. At the

same time some deer came out of as adjacent wood, which, from

being seldom shot at and regularly fed, are almost tame. The

jungle and woods which surrounded the park appearing to abound in

birds, I went to shoot a few, and was rewarded by getting several

specimens of the fine new kingfisher, Halcyon fulgidus, and the

curious and handsome ground thrush, Zoothera andromeda. The

former belies its name by not frequenting water or feeding on

fish. It lives constantly in low damp thickets picking up ground

insects, centipedes, and small mollusca. Altogether I was much

pleased with my visit to this place, and it gave me a higher

opinion than I had before entertained of the taste of these

people, although the style of the buildings and of the sculpture

is very much inferior to those of the magnificent ruins in Java.

I must now say a few words about the character, manners, and

customs of these interesting people.

The aborigines of Lombock are termed Sassaks. They are a Malay

race hardly differing in appearance from the people of Malacca or

Borneo. They are Mahometans and form the bulk of the population.

The ruling classes, on the other hand, are natives of the

adjacent island of Bali, and are of the Brahminical religion. The

government is an absolute monarchy, but it seems to be conducted

with more wisdom and moderation than is usual in Malay countries.

The father of the present Rajah conquered the island, and the

people seem now quite reconciled to their new rulers, who do not

interfere with their religion, and probably do not tax them any

heavier than did the native chiefs they have supplanted. The laws

now in force in Lombock are very severe. Theft is punished by

death. Mr. Carter informed me that a man once stole a metal

coffee-pot from his house. He was caught, the pot restored, and

the man brought to Mr. Carter to punish as he thought fit. All

the natives recommended Mr. Carter to have him "krissed" on the

spot; "for if you don't," said they, "he will rob you again." Mr.

Carter, however, let him off with a warning, that if he ever

came inside his premises again he would certainly be shot. A few

months afterwards the same man stole a horse from Mr. Carter. The

horse was recovered, but the thief was not caught. It is an

established rule, that anyone found in a house after dark,

unless with the owner's knowledge, may be stabbed, his body

thrown out into the street or upon the beach, and no questions

will be asked.

The men are exceedingly jealous and very strict with their wives.

A married woman may not accept a cigar or a sirih leaf from a

stranger under pain of death. I was informed that some years ago

one of the English traders had a Balinese woman of good family

living with him--the connection being considered quite honourable

by the natives. During some festival this girl offended against

the law by accepting a flower or some such trifle from another

man. This was reported to the Rajah (to some of whose wives the

girl was related), and he immediately sent to the Englishman's

house ordering him to give the woman up as she must be "krissed."

In vain he begged and prayed, and offered to pay any fine the

Rajah might impose, and finally refused to give her up unless he

was forced to do so. This the Rajah did not wish to resort to, as

he no doubt thought he was acting as much for the Englishman's

honour as for his own; so he appeared to let the matter drop. But

some time afterwards he sent one of his followers to the house,

who beckoned the girl to the door, and then saying, "The Rajah

sends you this," stabbed her to the heart. More serious

infidelity is punished still more cruelly, the woman and her

paramour being tied back to back and thrown into the sea, where

some large crocodiles are always on the watch to devour the

bodies. One such execution took place while I was at Ampanam, but

I took a long walk into the country to be out of the way until it

was all over, thus missing the opportunity of having a horrible

narrative to enliven my somewhat tedious story.

One morning, as we were sitting at breakfast, Mr. Carter's

servant informed us that there was an "Amok" in the village--in

other words, that a man was "running a muck." Orders were

immediately given to shut and fasten the gates of our enclosure;

but hearing nothing for some time, we went out, and found there

had been a false alarm, owing to a slave having run away,

declaring he would "amok," because his master wanted to sell him.

A short time before, a man had been killed at a gaming-table

because, having lost half-a-dollar more than he possessed, he was

going to "amok." Another had killed or wounded seventeen people

before he could be destroyed. In their wars a whole regiment of

these people will sometimes agree to "amok," and then rush on

with such energetic desperation as to be very formidable to men

not so excited as themselves. Among the ancients these would have

been looked upon as heroes or demigods who sacrificed themselves

for their country. Here it is simply said--they made "amok."

Macassar is the most celebrated place in the East for "running a

muck." There are said to be one or two a month on the average,

and five, ten, or twenty persons are sometimes killed or wounded

at one of them. It is the national, and therefore the honourable,

mode of committing suicide among the natives of Celebes, and is

the fashionable way of escaping from their difficulties. A Roman

fell upon his sword, a Japanese rips up his stomach, and an

Englishman blows out his brains with a pistol. The Bugis mode has

many advantages to one suicidically inclined. A man thinks

himself wronged by society--he is in debt and cannot pay--he is

taken for a slave or has gambled away his wife or child into

slavery--he sees no way of recovering what he has lost, and

becomes desperate. He will not put up with such cruel wrongs, but

will be revenged on mankind and die like a hero. He grasps his

kris-handle, and the next moment draws out the weapon and stabs a

man to the heart. He runs on, with bloody kris in his hand,

stabbing at everyone he meets. "Amok! Amok!" then resounds

through the streets. Spears, krisses, knives and guns are brought

out against him. He rushes madly forward, kills all he can--men,

women, and children--and dies overwhelmed by numbers amid all the

excitement of a battle. And what that excitement is those who

have been in one best know, but all who have ever given way to

violent passions, or even indulged in violent and exciting

exercises, may form a very good idea. It is a delirious

intoxication, a temporary madness that absorbs every thought and

every energy. And can we wonder at the kris-bearing, untaught,

brooding Malay preferring such a death, looked upon as almost

honourable to the cold-blooded details of suicide, if he wishes

to escape from overwhelming troubles, or the merciless of the

hangman and the disgrace of a public execution, when he has taken

the law into his own hands and too hastily revenged himself upon

his enemy? In either case he chooses rather to "amok."

The great staples of the trade of Lombock as well as of Bali are

rice and coffee; the former grown on the plains, the latter on

the hills. The rice is exported very largely to other islands of

the Archipelago, to Singapore, and even to China, and there are

generally one or more vessels loading in the port. It is brought

into Ampanam on pack-horses, and almost everyday a string of

these would come into Mr. Carter's yard. The only money the

natives will take for their rice is Chinese copper cash, twelve

hundred of which go to a dollar. Every morning two large sacks of

this money had to be counted out into convenient sums for

payment. From Bali quantities of dried beef and ox-tongues are

exported, and from Lombock a good many ducks and ponies. The ducks

are a peculiar breed, which have very long flat bodies, and walk

erect almost like penguins. They are generally of a pale reddish

ash colour, and are kept in large flocks. They are very cheap and

are largely consumed by the crews of the rice ships, by whom they

are called Baly-soldiers, but are more generally known elsewhere

as penguin-ducks.

My Portuguese bird-stuffer Fernandez now insisted on breaking his

agreement and returning to Singapore; partly from homesickness,

but more I believe from the idea that his life was not worth many

months' purchase among such bloodthirsty and uncivilized peoples.

It was a considerable loss to me, as I had paid him full three

times the usual wages for three months in advance, half of which

was occupied in the voyage and the rest in a place where I could

have done without him, owing to there being so few insects that I

could devote my own time to shooting and skinning. A few days

after Fernandez had left, a small schooner came in bound for

Macassar, to which place I took a passage. As a fitting

conclusion to my sketch of these interesting islands, I will

narrate an anecdote which I heard of the present Rajah; and

which, whether altogether true or not, well illustrates native

character, and will serve as a means of introducing some details

of the manners and customs of the country to which I have not yet




The Rajah of Lombock was a very wise man and he showed his wisdom

greatly in the way he took the census. For my readers must know

that the chief revenues of the Rajah were derived from a head-tax

of rice, a small measure being paid annually by every man, woman,

and child in the island, There was no doubt that every one paid

this tax, for it was a very light one, and the land was fertile

and the people well off; but it had to pass through many hands

before it reached the Government storehouses. When the harvest

was over the villagers brought their rice to the Kapala kampong,

or head of the village; and no doubt he sometimes had compassion

for the poor or sick and passed over their short measure, and

sometimes was obliged to grant a favour to those who had

complaints against him; and then he must keep up his own dignity

by having his granaries better filled than his neighbours, and so

the rice that he took to the "Waidono" that was over his district

was generally good deal less than it should have been. And all

the "Waidonos" had of course to take care of themselves, for they

were all in debt and it was so easy to take a little of the

Government rice, and there would still be plenty for the Rajah.

And the "Gustis" or princes who received the rice from the

Waidonos helped themselves likewise, and so when the harvest was

all over and the rice tribute was all brought in, the quantity

was found to be less each year than the one before. Sickness in

one district, and fevers in another, and failure of the crops in

a third, were of course alleged as the cause of this falling

off; but when the Rajah went to hunt at the foot of the great

mountain, or went to visit a "Gusti" on the other side of the

island, he always saw the villages full of people, all looking

well-fed and happy. And he noticed that the krisses of his chiefs

and officers were getting handsomer and handsomer; and the

handles that were of yellow wood were changed for ivory, and

those of ivory were changed for gold, and diamonds and emeralds

sparkled on many of them; and he knew very well which way the

tribute-rice went. But as he could not prove it he kept silence,

and resolved in his own heart someday to have a census taken, so

that he might know the number of his people, and not be cheated

out of more rice than was just and reasonable.

But the difficulty was how to get this census. He could not go

himself into every village and every house, and count all the

people; and if he ordered it to be done by the regular officers

they would quickly understand what it was for, and the census

would be sure to agree exactly with the quantity of rice he got

last year. It was evident therefore that to answer his purpose no

one must suspect why the census was taken; and to make sure of

this, no one must know that there was any census taken at all.

This was a very hard problem; and the Rajah thought and thought,

as hard as a Malay Rajah can be expected to think, but could not

solve it; and so he was very unhappy, and did nothing but smoke

and chew betel with his favourite wife, and eat scarcely

anything; and even when he went to the cock-fight did not seem to

care whether his best birds won or lost. For several days he

remained in this sad state, and all the court were afraid some

evil eye had bewitched the Rajah; and an unfortunate Irish

captain who had come in for a cargo of rice and who squinted

dreadfully, was very nearly being krissed, but being first

brought to the royal presence was graciously ordered to go on

board and remain there while his ship stayed in the port.

One morning however, after about a week's continuance of this

unaccountable melancholy, a welcome change tool place, for the

Rajah sent to call together all the chiefs, priests, and

princes who were then in Mataram, his capital city; and when they

were all assembled in anxious expectation, he thus addressed


"For many days my heart has been very sick and I knew not why,

but now the trouble is cleared away, for I have had a dream. Last

night the spirit of the 'Gunong Agong'--the great fire mountain--

appeared to me, and told me that I must go up to the top of the

mountain. All of you may come with me to near the top, but then I

must go up alone, and the great spirit will again appear to me

and will tell me what is of great importance to me and to you and

to all the people of the island. Now go all of you and make this

known through the island, and let every village furnish men to

make clear a road for us to go through the forest and up the

great mountain."

So the news was spread over the whole island that the Rajah must

go to meet the great spirit on the top of the mountain; and

every village sent forth its men, and they cleared away the

jungle and made bridges over the mountain streams and smoothed

the rough places for the Rajah's passage. And when they came to

the steep and craggy rocks of the mountain, they sought out the

best paths, sometimes along the bed of a torrent, sometimes along

narrow ledges of the black rocks; in one place cutting down a

tall tree so as to bridge across a chasm, in another constructing

ladders to mount the smooth face of a precipice. The chiefs who

superintended the work fixed upon the length of each day's

journey beforehand according to the nature of the road, and chose

pleasant places by the banks of clear streams and in the

neighbourhood of shady trees, where they built sheds and huts of

bamboo well thatched with the leaves of palm-trees, in which the

Rajah and his attendants might eat and sleep at the close of each


And when all was ready, the princes and priests and chief men

came again to the Rajah, to tell him what had been done and to

ask him when he would go up the mountain. And he fixed a day, and

ordered every man of rank and authority to accompany him, to do

honour to the great spirit who had bid him undertake the journey,

and to show how willingly they obeyed his commands. And then

there was much preparation throughout the whole island. The best

cattle were killed and the meat salted and sun-dried; and

abundance of red peppers and sweet potatoes were gathered; and

the tall pinang-trees were climbed for the spicy betel nut, the

sirih-leaf was tied up in bundles, and every man filled his

tobacco pouch and lime box to the brim, so that he might not want

any of the materials for chewing the refreshing betel during the

journey. The stores of provisions were sent on a day in advance.

And on the day before that appointed for starting, all the chiefs

both great and small came to Mataram, the abode of the king, with

their horses and their servants, and the bearers of their sirih boxes,

and their sleeping-mats, and their provisions. And they encamped under

the tall Waringin-trees that border all the roads about Mataram, and

with blazing fires frighted away the ghouls and evil spirits that

nightly haunt the gloomy avenues.

In the morning a great procession was formed to conduct the Rajah

to the mountain. And the royal princes and relations of the Rajah

mounted their black horses whose tails swept the ground; they

used no saddle or stirrups, but sat upon a cloth of gay colours;

the bits were of silver and the bridles of many-coloured cords.

The less important people were on small strong horses of various

colours, well suited to a mountain journey; and all (even the

Rajah) were bare-legged to above the knee, wearing only the gay

coloured cotton waist-cloth, a silk or cotton jacket, and a large

handkerchief tastefully folded around the head. Everyone was

attended by one or two servants bearing his sirih and betel

boxes, who were also mounted on ponies; and great numbers more

had gone on in advance or waited to bring up the rear. The men in

authority were numbered by hundreds and their followers by

thousands, and all the island wondered what great thing would

come of it.

For the first two days they went along good roads and through

many villages which were swept clean, and where bright cloths were

hung out at the windows; and all the people, when the Rajah came,

squatted down upon the ground in respect, and every man riding

got off his horse and squatted down also, and many joined the

procession at every village. At the place where they stopped for

the night, the people had placed stakes along each side of the

roads in front of the houses. These were split crosswise at the

top, and in the cleft were fastened little clay lamps, and

between them were stuck the green leaves of palm-trees, which,

dripping with the evening dew, gleamed prettily with the many

twinkling lights. And few went to sleep that night until the

morning hours, for every house held a knot of eager talkers, and

much betel-nut was consumed, and endless were the conjectures

what would come of it.

On the second day they left the last village behind them and

entered the wild country that surrounds the great mountain, and

rested in the huts that had been prepared for them on the banks

of a stream of cold and sparkling water. And the Rajah's hunters,

armed with long and heavy guns, went in search of deer and wild

bulls in the surrounding woods, and brought home the meat of both

in the early morning, and sent it on in advance to prepare the

mid-day meal. On the third day they advanced as far as horses

could go, and encamped at the foot of high rocks, among which

narrow pathways only could be found to reach the mountain-top.

And on the fourth morning when the Rajah set out, he was

accompanied only by a small party of priests and princes with

their immediate attendants; and they toiled wearily up the rugged

way, and sometimes were carried by their servants, until they

passed up above the great trees, and then among the thorny

bushes, and above them again on to the black and burned rock of

the highest part of the mountain.

And when they were near the summit, the Rajah ordered them all to

halt, while he alone went to meet the great spirit on the very

peak of the mountain. So he went on with two boys only who

carried his sirih and betel, and soon reached the top of the

mountain among great rocks, on the edge of the great gulf whence

issue forth continually smoke and vapour. And the Rajah asked for

sirih, and told the boys to sit down under a rock and look down

the mountain, and not to move until he returned to them. And as

they were tired, and the sun was warm and pleasant, and the rock

sheltered them from the cold grind, the boys fell asleep. And the

Rajah went a little way on under another rock; and as he was tired,

and the sun was warm and pleasant, and he too fell asleep.

And those who were waiting for the Rajah thought him a long time

on the top of the mountain, and thought the great spirit must

have much to say, or might perhaps want to keep him on the

mountain always, or perhaps he had missed his way in conning down

again. And they were debating whether they should go and search

for him, when they saw him coming down with the two boys. And

when he met them he looked very grave, but said nothing; and then

all descended together, and the procession returned as it had

come; and the Rajah went to his palace and the chiefs to their

villages, and the people to their houses, to tell their wives and

children all that had happened, and to wonder yet again what

would come of it.

And three days afterwards the Rajah summoned the priests and the

princes and the chief men of Mataram, to hear what the great

spirit had told him on the top of the mountain. And when they

were all assembled, and the betel and sirih had been handed

round, he told them what had happened. On the top of the mountain

he had fallen into a trance, and the great spirit had appeared to

him with a face like burnished gold, and had said--"0h Rajah! much

plague and sickness and fevers are coming upon all the earth,

upon men and upon horses and upon cattle; but as you and your

people have obeyed me and have come up to my great mountain, I

will teach you how you and all the people of Lombock may escape

this plague." And all waited anxiously, to hear how they were to

be saved from so fearful a calamity. And after a short silence

the Rajah spoke again and told them, that the great spirit had

commanded that twelve sacred krisses should be made, and that to

make them every village and every district must send a bundle of

needles--a needle for every head in the village. And when any

grievous disease appeared in any village, one of the sacred

krisses should be sent there; and if every house in that village

had sent the right number of needles, the disease would

immediately cease; but if the number of needles sent had not been

exact, the kris would have no virtue.

So the princes and chiefs sent to all their villages and

communicated the wonderful news; and all made haste to collect

the needles with the greatest accuracy, for they feared that if

but one were wanting, the whole village would suffer. So one by

one the head men of the villages brought in their bundles of

needles; those who were near Mataram came first, and those who

were far off came last; and the Rajah received them with his own

hands and put them away carefully in an inner chamber, in a

camphor-wood chest whose hinges and clasps were of silver; and on

every bundle was marked the name of the village and the district

from whence it came, so that it might be known that all had heard

and obeyed the commands of the great spirit.

And when it was quite certain that every village had sent in its

bundle, the Rajah divided the needles into twelve equal parts,

and ordered the best steelworker in Mataram to bring his forge

and his bellows and his hammers to the palace, and to make the

twelve krisses under the Rajah's eye, and in the sight of all men

who chose to see it. And when they were finished, they were

wrapped up in new silk and put away carefully until they might be


Now the journey to the mountain was in the time of the east wind

when no rain falls in Lombock. And soon after the krisses were

made it was the time of the rice harvest, and the chiefs of

districts and of villages brought their tax to the Rajah

according to the number heads in their villages. And to those

that wanted but little of the full amount, the Rajah said

nothing; but when those came who brought only half or a fourth

part of what was strictly due, he said to them mildly, "The

needles which you sent from your village were many more than came

from such-a-one's village, yet your tribute is less than his; go

back and see who it is that has not paid the tax." And the next

year the produce of the tax increased greatly, for they feared

that the Rajah might justly kill those who a second time kept

back the right tribute. And so the Rajah became very rich, and

increased the number of his soldiers, and gave golden jewels to

his wives, and bought fine black horses from the white-skinned

Hollanders, and made great feasts when his children were born or

were married; and none of the Rajahs or Sultans among the Malays

were so great or powerful as the Rajah of Lombock.

And the twelve sacred krisses had great virtue. And, when any

sickness appeared in a village one of them was sent for; and

sometimes the sickness went away, and then the sacred kris was

taken back again with great Honour, and the head men of the

village came to tell the Rajah of its miraculous power, and to

thank him. And sometimes the sickness would not go away; and then

everybody was convinced that there had been a mistake in the

number of needles sent from that village, and therefore the

sacred kris had no effect, and had to be taken back again by the

head men with heavy hearts, but still, with all honour--for was

not the fault their own?



(COUPANG, 1857-1869. DELLI, 1861.)

THE island of Timor is about three hundred miles long and sixty wide,

and seems to form the termination of the great range of volcanic

islands which begins with Sumatra more than two thousand miles to the

west. It differs however very remarkably from all the other islands of

the chain in not possessing any active volcanoes, with the one

exception of Timor Peak near the centre of the island, which was

formerly active, but was blown up during an eruption in 1638 and has

since been quiescent. In no other part of Timor do there appear to be

any recent igneous rocks, so that it can hardly be classed as a

volcanic island. Indeed its position is just outside of the great

volcanic belt, which extends from Flores through Ombay and Wetter to


I first visited Timor in 1857, staying a day at Coupang, the chief

Dutch town at the west end of the island; and again in May 1859, when

I stayed a fortnight in the same neighbourhood. In the spring of 1861

I spent four months at Delli, the capital of the Portuguese

possessions in the eastern part of the island.

The whole neighbourhood of Coupang appears to have been elevated at a

recent epoch, consisting of a rugged surface of coral rock, which

rises in a vertical wall between the beach and the town, whose low,

white, red-tiled houses give it an appearance very similar to other

Dutch settlements in the East. The vegetation is everywhere scanty

and scrubby. Plants of the families Apocynaceae and Euphorbiacea,

abound; but there is nothing that can be called a forest, and the

whole country has a parched and desolate appearance, contrasting

strongly with the lofty forest trees and perennial verdure of the

Moluccas or of Singapore. The most conspicuous feature of the

vegetation was the abundance of fine fanleaved palms (Borassus

flabelliformis), from the leaves of which are constructed the strong

and durable water-buckets in general use, and which are much superior

to those formed from any other species of palm. From the same tree,

palm-wine and sugar are made, and the common thatch for houses formed

of the leaves lasts six or seven years without removal. Close to the

town I noticed the foundation of a ruined house below high-water mark,

indicating recent subsidence. Earthquakes are not severe here, and are

so infrequent and harmless that the chief houses are built of stone.

The inhabitants of Coupang consist of Malays, Chinese, and Dutch,

besides the natives, so that there are many strange and complicated

mixtures among the population. There is one resident English merchant,

and whalers as well as Australian ships often come here for stores and

water. The native Timorese preponderate, and a very little examination

serves to show that they have nothing in common with Malays, but are

much more closely allied to the true Papuans of the Aru Islands and

New Guinea. They are tall, have pronounced features, large somewhat

aquiline noses, and frizzly hair, and are generally of a dusky brown

colour. The way in which the women talk to each other and to the men,

their loud voices and laughter, and general character of self-

assertion, would enable an experienced observer to decide, even

without seeing them, that they were not Malays.

Mr. Arndt, a German and the Government doctor, invited me to stay at

his house while in Coupang, and I gladly accepted his offer, as I only

intended making a short visit. We at first began speaking French, but

he got on so badly that we soon passed insensibly into Malay; and we

afterwards held long discussions on literary, scientific, and

philosophical questions in that semi-barbarous language, whose

deficiencies we made up by the free use of French or Latin words.

After a few walks in the neighbourhood of the town, I found such a

poverty of insects and birds that I determined to go for a few days to

the island of Semao at the western extremity of Timor, where I heard

that there was forest country with birds not found at Coupang. With

some difficulty I obtained a large dugout boat with outriggers, to

take me over a distance of about twenty miles. I found the country

pretty well wooded, but covered with shrubs and thorny bushes rather

than forest trees, and everywhere excessively parched and dried up by

the long-continued dry season. I stayed at the village of Oeassa,

remarkable for its soap springs. One of these is in the middle of the

village, bubbling out from a little cone of mud to which the ground

rises all round like a volcano in miniature. The water has a soapy

feel and produces a strong lather when any greasy substance is washed

in it. It contains alkali and iodine, in such quantities as to destroy

all vegetation for some distance around. Close by the village is one of

the finest springs I have ever seen, contained in several rocky basins

communicating by narrow channels. These have been neatly walled where

required and partly levelled, and form fine natural baths. The water

is well tasted and clear as crystal, and the basins are surrounded by

a grove of lofty many-stemmed banyan-trees, which keep them always

cool and shady, and add greatly to the picturesque beauty of the


The village consists of curious little houses very different from any

I have seen elsewhere. They are of an oval figure, and the walls are

made of sticks about four feet high placed close together. From this

rises a high conical roof thatched with grass. The only opening is a

door about three feet high. The people are like the Timorese with

frizzly or wavy hair and of a coppery brown colour. The better class

appear to have a mixture of some superior race which has much improved

their features. I saw in Coupang some chiefs from the island of Savu

further west, who presented characters very distinct from either the

Malay or Papuan races. They most resembled Hindus, having fine well-

formed features and straight thin noses with clear brown complexions.

As the Brahminical religion once spread over all Java, and even now

exists in Bali and Lombock, it is not at all improbable that some

natives of India should have reached this island, either by accident

or to escape persecution, and formed a permanent settlement there.

I stayed at Oeassa four days, when, not finding any insects and very

few new birds, I returned to Coupang to await the next mail steamer.

On the way I had a narrow escape of being swamped. The deep coffin-

like boat was filled up with my baggage, and with vegetables, cocoa-

nut and other fruit for Coupang market, and when we had got some way

across into a rather rough sea, we found that a quantity of water was

coming in which we had no means of baling out. This caused us to sink

deeper in the water, and then we shipped seas over our sides, and the

rowers, who had before declared it was nothing, now became alarmed and

turned the boat round to get back to the coast of Semao, which was not

far off. By clearing away some of the baggage a little of the water

could be baled out, but hardly so fast as it came in, and when we

neared the coast we found nothing but vertical walls of rock against

which the sea was violently beating. We coasted along some distance

until we found a little cove, into which we ran the boat, hauled it on

shore, and emptying it found a large hole in the bottom, which had

been temporarily stopped up with a plug of cocoa-nut which had come

out. Had we been a quarter of a mile further off before we discovered

the leak, we should certainly have been obliged to throw most of our

baggage overboard, and might easily have lost our lives. After we had

put all straight and secure we again started, and when we were

halfway across got into such a strong current and high cross sea that

we were very nearly being swamped a second time, which made me vow

never to trust myself again in such small and miserable vessels.

The mail steamer did not arrive for a week, and I occupied myself

in getting as many of the birds as I could, and found some which were

very interesting. Among them were five species of pigeons of as many

distinct genera, and most of then peculiar to the island; two

parrots--the fine red-winged broad-tail (Platycercus vulneratus),

allied to an Australian species, and a green species of the genus

Geoffroyus. The Tropidorhynchus timorensis was as ubiquitous and as

noisy as I had found it at Lombock; and the Sphaecothera viridis, a

curious green oriole with bare red orbits, was a great acquisition.

There were several pretty finches, warblers, and flycatchers, and

among them I obtained the elegant blue and red Cyornis hyacinthina;

but I cannot recognise among my collections the species mentioned by

Dampier, who seems to have been much struck by the number of small

songbirds in Timor. He says: "One sort of these pretty little birds

my men called the ringing bird, because it had six notes, and always

repeated all his notes twice, one after the other, beginning high and

shrill and ending low. The bird was about the bigness of a lark,

having a small, sharp, black bill and blue wings; the head and breast

were of a pale red, and there was a blue streak about its neck." In

Semao, monkeys are abundant. They are the common bare-lipped monkey

(Macacus cynomolgus), which is found all over the western islands of

the Archipelago, and may have been introduced by natives, who often

carry it about captive. There are also some deer, but it is not quite

certain whether they are of the same species as are found in Java.

I arrived at Delli, the capital of the Portuguese possessions in

Timor, on January 12, 1861, and was kindly received by Captain Hart,

an Englishman and an old resident, who trades in the produce of the

country and cultivates coffee on an estate at the foot of the hills.

With him I was introduced to Mr. Geach, a mining-engineer who had been

for two years endeavouring to discover copper in sufficient quantity

to be worth working.

Delli is a most miserable place compared with even the poorest of the

Dutch towns. The houses are all of mud and thatch; the fort is only a

mud enclosure; and the custom-house and church are built of the same

mean materials, with no attempt at decoration or even neatness. The

whole aspect of the place is that of a poor native town, and there is

no sign of cultivation or civilization round about it. His Excellency

the Governor's house is the only one that makes any pretensions to

appearance, and that is merely a low whitewashed cottage or bungalow.

Yet there is one thing in which civilization exhibits itself--

officials in black and white European costume, and officers in gorgeous

uniforms abound in a degree quite disproportionate to the size or

appearance of the place.

The town being surrounded for some distance by swamps and mudflats is

very unhealthy, and a single night often gives a fever to newcomers

which not unfrequently proves fatal. To avoid this malaria, Captain

Hart always slept at his plantation, on a slight elevation about two

miles from the town, where Mr. Geach also had a small house, which he

kindly invited me to share. We rode there in the evening; and in the

course of two days my baggage was brought up, and I was able to look

about me and see if I could do any collecting.

For the first few weeks I was very unwell and could not go far from

the house. The country was covered with low spiny shrubs and acacias,

except in a little valley where a stream came down from the hills,

where some fine trees and bushes shaded the water and formed a very

pleasant place to ramble up. There were plenty of birds about, and of

a tolerable variety of species; but very few of them were gaily

coloured. Indeed, with one or two exceptions, the birds of this

tropical island were hardly so ornamental as those of Great Britain.

Beetles were so scarce that a collector might fairly say there were

none, as the few obscure or uninteresting species would not repay him

for the search. The only insects at all remarkable or interesting were

the butterflies, which, though comparatively few in species, were

sufficiently abundant, and comprised a large proportion of new or rare

sorts. The banks of the stream formed my best collecting-ground, and I

daily wandered up and down its shady bed, which about a mile up became

rocky and precipitous. Here I obtained the rare and beautiful swallow-

tail butterflies, Papilio aenomaus and P. liris; the males of which

are quite unlike each other, and belong in fact to distinct sections

of the genus, while the females are so much alike that they are

undistinguishable on the wing, and to an uneducated eye equally so in

the cabinet. Several other beautiful butterflies rewarded my search in

this place, among which I may especially mention the Cethosia

leschenaultii, whose wings of the deepest purple are bordered with

buff in such a manner as to resemble at first sight our own Camberwell

beauty, although it belongs to a different genus. The most abundant

butterflies were the whites and yellows (Pieridae), several of which I

had already found at Lombock and at Coupang, while others were new to


Early in February we made arrangements to stay for a week at a village

called Baliba, situated about four miles off on the mountains, at an

elevation of 2,000 feet. We took our baggage and a supply of all

necessaries on packhorses; and though the distance by the route we

took was not more than six or seven miles, we were half a day getting

there. The roads were mere tracks, sometimes up steep rocky stairs,

sometimes in narrow gullies worn by the horses' feet, and where it was

necessary to tuck up our legs on our horses' necks to avoid having

them crushed. At some of these places the baggage had to be unloaded,

at others it was knocked off. Sometimes the ascent or descent was so

steep that it was easier to walk than to cling to our ponies' backs;

and thus we went up and down over bare hills whose surface was

covered with small pebbles and scattered over with Eucalypti,

reminding me of what I had read of parts of the interior of Australia

rather than of the Malay Archipelago.

The village consisted of three houses only, with low walls raised a

few feet on posts, and very high roofs thatched with brass hanging

down to within two or three feet of the ground. A house which was

unfinished and partly open at the back was given for our use, and in

it we rigged up a table, some benches, and a screen, while an inner

enclosed portion served us for a sleeping apartment. We had a splendid

view down upon Delli and the sea beyond. The country around was

undulating and open, except in the hollows, where there were some

patches of forest, which Mr. Geach, who had been all over the eastern

part of Timor, assured me was the most luxuriant he had yet seen in

the island. I was in hopes of finding some insects here, but was much

disappointed, owing perhaps to the dampness of the climate; for it was

not until the sun was pretty high that the mists cleared away, and by

noon we were generally clouded up again, so that there was seldom more

than an hour or two of fitful sunshine. We searched in every direction

for birds and other game, but they were very scarce. On our

way I had shot the find white-headed pigeon, Ptilonopus cinctus, and

the pretty little lorikeet, Trichoglossus euteles. I got a few more of

these at the blossoms of the Eucalypti, and also the allied species

Trichoglossus iris, and a few other small but interesting birds. The

common jungle-cock of India (Gallus bankiva) was found here, and

furnished us with some excellent meals; but we could get no deer.

Potatoes are grown higher up the mountains in abundance, and are very

good. We had a sheep killed every other day, and ate our mutton with

much appetite in the cool climate, which rendered a fire always


Although one-half the European residents in Delli are continually ill

from fever, and the Portuguese have occupied the place for three

centuries, no one has yet built a house on these fine hills, which, if

a tolerable road were made, would be only an hour's ride from the

town; and almost equally good situations might be found on a lower

level at half an hour's distance. The fact that potatoes and wheat of

excellent quality are grown in abundance at from 3,000 to 3,500 feet

elevation, shows what the climate and soil are capable of if properly

cultivated. From one to two thousand feet high, coffee would thrive;

and there are hundreds of square miles of country over which all the

varied products which require climates between those of coffee and

wheat would flourish; but no attempt has yet been made to form a

single mile of road, or a single acre of plantation!

There must be something very unusual in the climate of Timor to permit

wheat being grown at so moderate an elevation. The grain is of

excellent quality, the bread made from it being equal to any I have

ever tasted, and it is universally acknowledged to be unsurpassed by

any made from imported European or American flour. The fact that the

natives have (quite of their own accord) taken to cultivating such

foreign articles as wheat and potatoes, which they bring in small

quantities on the backs of ponies by the most horrible mountain

tracks, and sell very cheaply at the seaside, sufficiently indicates

what might be done if good roads were made, and if the people were

taught, encouraged, and protected. Sheep also do well on the

mountains; and a breed of hardy ponies in much repute all over the

Archipelago, runs half-wild, so that it appears as if this island, so

barren-looking and devoid of the usual features of tropical

vegetation, were yet especially adapted to supply a variety of

products essential to Europeans, which the other islands will not

produce, and which they accordingly import from the other side of the


On the 24th of February my friend Mr. Geach left Timor, having finally

reported that no minerals worth working were to be found. The

Portuguese were very much annoyed, having made up their minds that

copper is abundant, and still believing it to be so. It appears that

from time immemorial pure native copper has been found at a place on

the coast about thirty miles east of Delli.

The natives say they find it in the bed of a ravine, and many years

ago a captain of a vessel is said to have got some hundreds-weight of

it. Now, however, it is evidently very scarce, as during the two years

Mr. Geach resided in the country, none was found. I was shown one

piece several pounds' weight, having much the appearance of one of the

larger Australian nuggets, but of pure copper instead of gold. The

natives and the Portuguese have very naturally imagined that where

these fragments come from there must be more; and they have a report

or tradition, that a mountain at the head of the ravine is almost pure

copper, and of course of immense value.

After much difficulty a company was at length formed to work the

copper mountain, a Portuguese merchant of Singapore supplying most of

the capital. So confident were they of the existence of the copper,

that they thought it would be waste of time and money to have any

exploration made first; and accordingly, sent to England for a mining

engineer, who was to bring out all necessary tools, machinery,

laboratory, utensils, a number of mechanics, and stores of all kinds

for two years, in order to commence work on a copper-mine which he was

told was already discovered. On reaching Singapore a ship was

freighted to take the men and stores to Timor, where they at length

arrived after much delay, a long voyage, and very great expense.

A day was then fixed to "open the mines." Captain Hart accompanied Mr.

Geach as interpreter. The Governor, the Commandante, the Judge, and

all the chief people of the place went in state to the mountain, with

Mr. Geach's assistant and some of the workmen. As they went up the

valley Mr. Leach examined the rocks, but saw no signs of copper. They

went on and on, but still nothing except a few mere traces of very

poor ore. At length they stood on the copper mountain itself. The

Governor stopped, the officials formed a circle, and he then addressed

them, saying, that at length the day had arrived they had all been so

long expecting, when the treasures of the soil of Timor would be

brought to light, and much more in very graandiloquent Portuguese;

and concluded by turning to Mr. Leach, and requesting him to point out

the best spot for them to begin work at once, and uncover the mass of

virgin copper. As the ravines and precipices among which they had

passed, and which had been carefully examined, revealed very clearly

the nature and mineral constitution of the country, Mr. Geach simply

told them that there was not a trace of copper there, and that it was

perfectly useless to begin work. The audience were thunderstruck! The

Governor could not believe his ears. At length, when Mr. Geach had

repeated his statement, the Governor told him severely that he was

mistaken; that they all knew there was copper there in abundance, and

all they wanted him to tell them, as a mining-engineer, was how best

to get at it; and that at all events he was to begin work somewhere.

This Mr. Geach refused to do, trying to explain that the ravines had

cut far deeper into the hill than he could do in years, and that he

would not throw away money or time on any such useless attempt. After

this speech had been interpreted to him, the Governor saw it was no

use, and without saying a word turned his horse and rode away, leaving

my friends alone on the mountain. They all believed there was some

conspiracy that the Englishman would not find the copper, and that

they had been cruelly betrayed.

Mr. Geach then wrote to the Singapore merchant who was his employer,

and it was arranged that he should send the mechanics home again, and

himself explore the country for minerals. At first the Government

threw obstacles in his way and entirely prevented his moving; but at

length he was allowed to travel about, and for more than a year he and

his assistant explored the eastern part of Timor, crossing it in

several places from sea to sea, and ascending every important valley,

without finding any minerals that would pay the expense of working.

Copper ore exists in several places, but always too poor in quality.

The best would pay well if situated in England; but in the interior of

an utterly barren country, with roads to make, and all skilled labour

and materials to import, it would have been a losing concern. Gold

also occurs, but very sparingly and of poor quality. A fine spring of

pure petroleum was discovered far in the interior, where it can never

be available until the country is civilized. The whole affair was a

dreadful disappointment to the Portuguese Government, who had

considered it such a certain thing that they had contracted for the

Dutch mail steamers to stop at Delli and several vessels from

Australia were induced to come with miscellaneous cargoes, for which

they expected to find a ready sale among the population at the newly-

opened mines. The lumps of native copper are still, however, a

mystery. Mr. Geach has examined the country in every direction without

being able to trace their origin; so that it seems probable that they

result from the debris of old copper-bearing strata, and are not

really more abundant than gold nuggets are in Australia or California.

A high reward was offered to any native who should find a piece and

show the exact spot where he obtained it, but without effect.

The mountaineers of Timor are a people of Papuan type, having rather

slender forms, bushy frizzled hair, and the skin of a dusky brown

colour. They have the long nose with overhanging apex which is so

characteristic of the Papuan, and so absolutely unknown among races of

Malayan origin. On the coast there has been much admixture of some of

the Malay races, and perhaps of Hindu, as well as of Portuguese. The

general stature there is lower, the hair wavy instead of frizzled, and

the features less prominent. The houses are built on the ground, while

the mountaineers raise theirs on posts three or four feet high. The

common dress is a long cloth, twisted around the waist and hanging to

the knee, as shown in the illustration (page 305), copied from a

photograph. Both men carry the national umbrella, made of an entire

fan-shaped palm leaf, carefully stitched at the fold of each leaflet

to prevent splitting. This is opened out, and held sloping over the

head and back during a shower. The small water-bucket is made from an

entire unopened leaf of the same palm, and the covered bamboo probably

contains honey for sale. A curious wallet is generally carried,

consisting of a square of strongly woven cloth, the four corners of

which are connected by cords, and often much ornamented with beads and

tassels. Leaning against the house behind the figure on the right are

bamboos, used instead of water jars.

A prevalent custom is the "pomali," exactly equivalent to the "taboo"

of the Pacific islanders, and equally respected. It is used on the

commonest occasions, and a few palm leaves stuck outside a garden as a

sign of the "pomali" will preserve its produce from thieves as

effectually as the threatening notice of man-traps, spring guns, or a

savage dog would do with us. The dead are placed on a stage, raised

six or eight feet above the ground, sometimes open and sometimes

covered with a roof. Here the body remains until the relatives can

afford to make a feast, when it is buried. The Timorese are generally

great thieves, but are not bloodthirsty. They fight continually among

themselves, and take every opportunity of kidnapping unprotected

people of other tribes for slaves; but Europeans may pass anywhere

through the country in safety. Except for a few half-breeds in the town,

there are no native Christians in the island of Timor. The people

retain their independence in a great measure, and both dislike and

despise their would-be rulers, whether Portuguese or Dutch.

The Portuguese government in Timor is a most miserable one. Nobody

seems to care the least about the improvement of the country, and at

this time, after three hundred years of occupation, there has not been

a mile of road made beyond the town, and there is not a solitary

European resident anywhere in the interior. All the Government

officials oppress and rob the natives as much as they can, and yet

there is no care taken to render the town defensible should the

Timorese attempt to attack it. So ignorant are the military officers,

that having received a small mortar and some shells, no one could be

found who knew how to use them; and during an insurrection of the

natives (while I was at Delli) the officer who expected to be sent

against the insurgents was instantly taken ill! And they were allowed

to get possession of an important pass within three miles of the town,

where they could defend themselves against ten times the force. The

result was that no provisions were brought down from the hills; a

famine was imminent; and the Governor had to send off to beg for

supplies from the Dutch Governor of Amboyna.

In its present state Timor is more trouble than profit to its Dutch

and Portuguese rulers, and it will continue to be so unless a

different system is pursued. A few good roads into the elevated

districts of the interior; a conciliatory policy and strict justice

towards the natives, and the introduction of a good system of

cultivation as in Java and northern Celebes, might yet make Timor a

productive and valuable island. Rice grows well on the marshy flats,

which often fringe the coast, and maize thrives in all the lowlands,

and is the common food of the natives as it was when Dampier visited

the island in 1699. The small quantity of coffee now grown is of very

superior quality, and it might be increased to any extent. Sheep

thrive, and would always be valuable as fresh food for whalers and to

supply the adjacent islands with mutton, if not for their wool;

although it is probable that on the mountains this product might soon

be obtained by judicious breeding. Horses thrive amazingly; and enough

wheat might be grown to supply the whole Archipelago if there were

sufficient inducements to the natives to extend its cultivation, and

good roads by which it could be cheaply transported to the coast.

Under such a system the natives would soon perceive that European

government was advantageous to them. They would begin to save money,

and property being rendered secure they would rapidly acquire new

wants and new tastes, and become large consumers of European goods.

This would be a far surer source of profit to their rulers than

imposts and extortion, and would be at the same time more likely to

produce peace and obedience than the mock-military rule which has

hitherto proved most ineffective. To inaugurate such a system would

however require an immediate outlay of capital, which neither Dutch

nor Portuguese seem inclined to make, and a number of honest and

energetic officials, which the latter nation at least seems unable to

produce; so that it is much to be feared that Timor will for many

years to come remain in its present state of chronic insurrection and


Morality at Delli is at as low an ebb as in the far interior of

Brazil, and crimes are connived at which would entail infamy and

criminal prosecution in Europe. While I was there it was generally

asserted and believed in the place, that two officers had poisoned the

husbands of women with whom they were carrying on intrigues, and with

whom they immediately cohabited on the death of their rivals. Yet no

one ever thought for a moment of showing disapprobation of the crime,

or even of considering it a crime at all, the husbands in question

being low half-castes, who of course ought to make way for the

pleasures of their superiors.

Judging from what I saw myself and by the descriptions of Mr. Geach,

the indigenous vegetation of Timor is poor and monotonous. The lower

ranges of the hills are everywhere covered with scrubby Eucalypti,

which only occasionally grow into lofty forest trees. Mingled with

these in smaller quantities are acacias and the fragrant sandalwood,

while the higher mountains, which rise to about six or seven thousand

feet, are either covered with coarse grass or are altogether barren.

In the lower grounds are a variety of weedy bushes, and open waste

places are covered everywhere with a nettle-like wild mint. Here is

found the beautiful crown lily, Gloriosa superba, winding among the

bushes, and displaying its magnificent blossoms in great profusion. A

wild vine also occurs, bearing great irregular bunches of hairy grapes

of a coarse but very luscious flavour. In some of the valleys where

the vegetation is richer, thorny shrubs and climbers are so abundant

as to make the thickets quite impenetrable.

The soil seems very poor, consisting chiefly of decomposing clayey

shales; and the bare earth and rock is almost everywhere visible. The

drought of the hot season is so severe that most of the streams dry up

in the plains before they reach the sea; everything becomes burned up,

and the leaves of the larger trees fall as completely as in our

winter. On the mountains from two to four thousand feet elevation

there is a much moister atmosphere, so that potatoes and other

European products can be grown all the year round. Besides ponies,

almost the only exports of Timor are sandalwood and beeswax. The

sandalwood (Santalum sp.) is the produce of a small tree, which grows

sparingly in the mountains of Timor and many of the other islands in

the far East. The wood is of a fine yellow colour, and possesses a

well-known delightful fragrance which is wonderfully permanent. It is

brought down to Delli in small logs, and is chiefly exported to China,

where it is largely used to burn in the temples, and in the houses of

the wealthy.

The beeswax is a still more important and valuable product, formed

by the wild bees (Apis dorsata), which build huge honeycombs,

suspended in the open air from the underside of the lofty branches of

the highest trees. These are of a semicircular form, and often three

or four feet in diameter. I once saw the natives take a bees' nest,

and a very interesting sight it was. In the valley where I used to

collect insects, I one day saw three or four Timorese men and boys

under a high tree, and, looking up, saw on a very lofty horizontal

branch three large bees' combs. The tree was straight and smooth-

barked and without a branch, until at seventy or eighty feet from the

ground it gave out the limb which the bees had chosen for their home.

As the men were evidently looking after the bees, I waited to watch

their operations. One of them first produced a long piece of wood

apparently the stem of a small tree or creeper, which he had brought

with him, and began splitting it through in several directions, which

showed that it was very tough and stringy. He then wrapped it in palm-

leaves, which were secured by twisting a slender creeper round them.

He then fastened his cloth tightly round his loins, and producing

another cloth wrapped it around his head, neck, and body, and tied it

firmly around his neck, leaving his face, arms, and legs completely

bare. Slung to his girdle he carried a long thin coil of cord; and

while he had been making these preparations, one of his companions had

cut a strong creeper or bush-rope eight or ten yards long, to one end

of which the wood-torch was fastened, and lighted at the bottom,

emitting a steady stream of smoke. Just above the torch a chopping-

knife was fastened by a short cord.

The bee-hunter now took hold of the bush-rope just above the torch and

passed the other end around the trunk of the tree, holding one end in

each hand. Jerking it up the tree a little above his head he set his

foot against the trunk, and leaning back began walking up it. It was

wonderful to see the skill with which he took advantage of the

slightest irregularities of the bark or obliquity of the stem to aid

his ascent, jerking the stiff creeper a few feet higher when he had

found a firm hold for his bare foot. It almost made me giddy to look

at him as he rapidly got up--thirty, forty, fifty feet above the

ground; and I kept wondering how he could possibly mount the next few

feet of straight smooth trunk. Still, however, he kept on with as much

coolness and apparent certainty as if he were going up a ladder, until

he got within ten or fifteen feet of the bees. Then he stopped a

moment, and took care to swing the torch (which hung just at his feet)

a little towards these dangerous insects, so as to send up the stream

of smoke between him and them. Still going on, in a minute more he

brought himself under the limb, and, in a manner quite unintelligible

to me, seeing that both hands were occupied in supporting himself by

the creeper, managed to get upon it.

By this time the bees began to be alarmed, and formed a dense buzzing

swarm just over him, but he brought the torch up closer to him, and

coolly brushed away those that settled on his arms or legs. Then

stretching himself along the limb, he crept towards the nearest comb

and swung the torch just under it. The moment the smoke touched it,

its colour changed in a most curious manner from black to white, the

myriads of bees that had covered it flying off and forming a dense

cloud above and around. The man then lay at full length along the

limb, and brushed off the remaining bees with his hand, and then

drawing his knife cut off the comb at one slice close to the tree, and

attaching the thin cord to it, let it down to his companions below. He

was all this time enveloped in a crowd of angry bees, and how he bore

their stings so coolly, and went on with his work at that giddy height

so deliberately, was more than I could understand. The bees were

evidently not stupified by the smoke or driven away far by it, and it

was impossible that the small stream from the torch could protect his

whole body when at work. There were three other combs on the same

tree, and all were successively taken, and furnished the whole party

with a luscious feast of honey and young bees, as well as a valuable

lot of wax.

After two of the combs had been let down, the bees became rather

numerous below, flying about wildly and stinging viciously. Several

got about me, and I was soon stung, and had to run away, beating them

off with my net and capturing them for specimens. Several of them

followed me for at least half a mile, getting into my hair and

persecuting me most pertinaciously, so that I was more astonished than

ever at the immunity of the natives. I am inclined to think that slow

and deliberate motion, and no attempt at escape, are perhaps the best

safeguards. A bee settling on a passive native probably behaves as it

would on a tree or other inanimate substance, which it does not

attempt to sting. Still they must often suffer, but they are used to

the pain and learn to bear it impassively, as without doing so no man

could be a bee-hunter.



IF we look at a map of the Archipelago, nothing seems more unlikely

than that the closely connected chain of islands from Java to Timor

should differ materially in their natural productions. There are, it

is true, certain differences of climate and of physical geography, but

these do not correspond with the division the naturalist is obliged to

make. Between the two ends of the chain there is a great contrast of

climate, the west being exceedingly moist and leaving only a short and

irregular dry season, the east being as dry and parched up, and having

but a short wet season. This change, however, occurs about the middle

of Java, the eastern portion of that island having as strongly marked

seasons as Lombock and Timor. There is also a difference in physical

geography; but this occurs at the eastern termination of the chain

where the volcanoes which are the marked feature of Java, Bali,

Lombock, Sumbawa, and Flores, turn northwards through Gunong Api to

Banda, leaving Timor with only one volcanic peak near its centre,

while the main portion of the island consists of old sedimentary

rocks. Neither of these physical differences corresponds with the

remarkable change in natural productions which occurs at the Straits

of Lombock, separating the island of that name from Bali, and which is

at once so large in amount and of so fundamental a character, as to

form an important feature in the zoological geography of our globe.

The Dutch naturalist Zollinger, who resided a long time on the island

of Bali, informs us that its productions completely assimilate with

those of Java, and that he is not aware of a single animal found in it

which does not inhabit the larger island. During the few days which I

stayed on the north coast of Bali on my way to Lombock, I saw several

birds highly characteristic of Javan ornithology. Among these were the

yellow-headed weaver (Ploceus hypoxantha), the black grasshopper

thrush (Copsychus amoenus), the rosy barbet (Megalaema rosea), the

Malay oriole (Oriolus horsfieldi), the Java ground starling

(Sturnopastor jalla), and the Javanese three-toed woodpecker

(Chrysonotus tiga). On crossing over to Lombock, separated from Bali

by a strait less than twenty miles wide, I naturally expected to meet

with some of these birds again; but during a stay there of three

months I never saw one of them, but found a totally different set of

species, most of which were utterly unknown not only in Java, but also

in Borneo, Sumatra, and Malacca. For example, among the commonest

birds in Lombock were white cockatoos and three species of

Meliphagidae or honeysuckers, belonging to family groups which are

entirely absent from the western or Indo-Malayan region of the

Archipelago. On passing to Flores and Timor the distinctness from the

Javanese productions increases, and we find that these islands form a

natural group, whose birds are related to those of Java and Australia,

but are quite distinct from either. Besides my own collections in

Lombock and Timor, my assistant Mr. Allen made a good collection in

Flores; and these, with a few species obtained by the Dutch

naturalists, enable us to form a very good idea of the natural history

of this group of islands, and to derive therefrom some very

interesting results.

The number of birds known from these islands up to this date is: 63

from Lombock, 86 from Flores, and 118 from Timor; and from the whole

group, 188 species. With the exception of two or three species which

appear to have been derived from the Moluccas, all these birds can be

traced, either directly or by close allies, to Java on the one side or

to Australia on the other; although no less than 82 of them are found

nowhere out of this small group of islands. There is not, however, a

single genus peculiar to the group, or even one which is largely

represented in it by peculiar species; and this is a fact which

indicates that the fauna is strictly derivative, and that its origin

does not go back beyond one of the most recent geological epochs. Of

course there are a large number of species (such as most of the

waders, many of the raptorial birds, some of the kingfishers,

swallows, and a few others), which range so widely over a large part

of the Archipelago that it is impossible to trace them as having come

from any one part rather than from another. There are fifty-seven such

species in my list, and besides these there are thirty-five more

which, though peculiar to the Timor group, are yet allied to wide-

ranging forms. Deducting these ninety-two species, we have nearly a

hundred birds left whose relations with those of other countries we

will now consider.

If we first take those species which, as far as we yet know, are

absolutely confined to each island, we find, in:

Lombock 4 belonging to 2 genera, of which 1 is Australian, 1 Indian.

Flores 12       "      7        "         5 are    "       2    "

Timor  42       "      20       "        16 are    "       4    "

The actual number of peculiar species in each island I do not suppose

to be at all accurately determined, since the rapidly increasing

numbers evidently depend upon the more extensive collections made in

Timor than in Flores, and in Flores than in Lombock; but what we can

depend more upon, and what is of more special interest, is the

greatly increased proportion of Australian forms and decreased

proportion of Indian forms, as we go from west to east. We shall show

this in a yet more striking manner by counting the number of species

identical with those of Java and Australia respectively in each

island, thus:


                 In Lombock.     In Flores.    In Timor.

Javan birds . . .  . 33             23            11

Australian birds . .  4              5            10

Here we see plainly the course of the migration which has been going

on for hundreds or thousands of years, and is still going on at the

present day. Birds entering from Java are most numerous in the island

nearest Java; each strait of the sea to be crossed to reach another

island offers an obstacle, and thus a smaller number get over to the

next island. [The names of all the birds inhabiting these islands are

to be found in the "Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London"

for the year 1863.] It will be observed that the number of birds that

appear to have entered from Australia is much less than those which

have come from Java; and we may at first sight suppose that this is

due to the wide sea that separates Australia from Timor. But this

would be a hasty and, as we shall soon see, an unwarranted

supposition. Besides these birds identical with species inhabiting

Java and Australia, there are a considerable number of others very

closely allied to species peculiar to those countries, and we must

take these also into account before we form any conclusion on the

matter. It will be as well to combine these with the former table thus:

                               In Lombock.  In Flores.  In Timor.

Javan birds . . . . . . . .   . . .33           23         11

Closely allied to Javan birds . .   1            5          6

Total . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  34           28         17

Australian birds . . . . . . . . .  4            5         10

Closely allied to Australian birds  3            9         26

Total . . . . .  . . . . . . . . .  7           14         36

We now see that the total number of birds which seem to have been

derived from Java and Australia is very nearly equal, but there is

this remarkable difference between the two series: that whereas the

larger proportion by far of the Java set are identical with those

still inhabiting that country, an almost equally large proportion of

the Australian set are distinct, though often very closely allied

species. It is to be observed also, that these representative or

allied species diminish in number as they recede from Australia, while

they increase in number as they recede from Java. There are two

reasons for this, one being that the islands decrease rapidly in size

from Timor to Lombock, and can therefore support a decreasing number

of species; the other and the more important is, that the distance of

Australia from Timor cuts off the supply of fresh immigrants, and has

thus allowed variation to have full play; while the vicinity of

Lombock to Bali and Java has allowed a continual influx of fresh

individuals which, by crossing with the earlier immigrants, has

checked variation.

To simplify our view of the derivative origin of the birds of these

islands let us treat them as a whole, and thus perhaps render more

intelligible their respective relations to Java and Australia.

The Timor group of islands contains:

Javan birds . . . . . . .  36       Australian birds . . . 13

Closely allied species . . 11   Closely allied species . . 35

Derived from Java  . . . . 47 Derived from Australia . . . 48

We have here a wonderful agreement in the number of birds belonging to

Australian and Javanese groups, but they are divided in exactly a

reverse manner, three-fourths of the Javan birds being identical

species and one-fourth representatives, while only one-fourth of the

Australian forms are identical and three-fourths representatives. This

is the most important fact which we can elicit from a study of the

birds of these islands, since it gives us a very complete clue to much

of their past history.

Change of species is a slow process--on that we are all agreed, though

we may differ about how it has taken place. The fact that the

Australian species in these islands have mostly changed, while the

Javan species have almost all remained unchanged, would therefore

indicate that the district was first peopled from Australia. But, for

this to have been the case, the physical conditions must have been

very different from what they are now. Nearly three hundred miles of

open sea now separate Australia from Timor, which island is connected

with Java by a chain of broken land divided by straits which are

nowhere more than about twenty miles wide. Evidently there are now

great facilities for the natural productions of Java to spread over

and occupy the whole of these islands, while those of Australia would

find very great difficulty in getting across. To account for the

present state of things, we should naturally suppose that Australia

was once much more closely connected with Timor than it is at present;

and that this was the case is rendered highly probable by the fact of

a submarine bank extending along all the north and west coast of

Australia, and at one place approaching within twenty miles of the

coast of Timor. This indicates a recent subsidence of North Australia,

which probably once extended as far as the edge of this bank, between

which and Timor there is an unfathomed depth of ocean.

I do not think that Timor was ever actually connected with Australia,

because such a large number of very abundant and characteristic groups

of Australian birds are quite absent, and not a single Australian

mammal has entered Timor-- which would certainly not have been the case

had the lands been actually united. Such groups as the bower birds

(Ptilonorhynchus), the black and red cockatoos (Calyptorhynchus), the

blue wrens (Malurus), the crowshrikes (Cracticus), the Australian

shrikes (Falcunculus and Colluricincla), and many others, which abound

all over Australia, would certainly have spread into Timor if it had

been united to that country, or even if for any long time it had

approached nearer to it than twenty miles. Neither do any of the most

characteristic groups of Australian insects occur in Timor; so that

everything combines to indicate that a strait of the sea has always

separated it from Australia, but that at one period this strait was

reduced to a width of about twenty miles.

But at the time when this narrowing of the sea took place in one

direction, there must have been a greater separation at the other end

of the chain, or we should find more equality in the numbers of

identical and representative species derived from each extremity. It

is true that the widening of the strait at the Australian end by

subsidence, would, by putting a stop to immigration and intercrossing

of individuals from the mother country, have allowed full scope to the

causes which have led to the modification of the species; while the

continued stream of immigrants from Java, would, by continual

intercrossing, check such modification. This view will not, however,

explain all the facts; for the character of the fauna of the Timorese

group is indicated as well by the forms which are absent from it as by

those which it contains, and is by this kind of evidence shown to be

much more Australian than Indian. No less than twenty-nine genera, all

more or less abundant in Java, and most of which range over a wide

area, are altogether absent; while of the equally diffused Australian

genera only about fourteen are wanting. This would clearly indicate

that there has been, until recently, a wide separation from Java; and

the fact that the islands of Bali and Lombock are small, and are

almost wholly volcanic, and contain a smaller number of modified forms

than the other islands, would point them out as of comparatively

recent origin. A wide arm of the sea probably occupied their place at

the time when Timor was in the closest proximity to Australia; and as

the subterranean fires were slowly piling up the now fertile islands

of Bali and Lombock, the northern shores of Australia would be sinking

beneath the ocean. Some such changes as have been here indicated,

enable us to understand how it happens, that though the birds of this

group are on the whole almost as much Indian as Australian, yet the

species which are peculiar to the group are mostly Australian in

character; and also why such a large number of common Indian forms

which extend through Java to Bali, should not have transmitted a

single representative to the island further east.

The Mammalia of Timor as well as those of the other islands of the

group are exceedingly scanty, with the exception of bats. These last

are tolerably abundant, and no doubt many more remain to be discovered.

Out of fifteen species known from Timor, nine are found also in Java,

or the islands west of it; three are Moluccan species, most of which

are also found in Australia, and the rest are peculiar to Timor.

The land mammals are only seven in number, as follows: 1. The common

monkey, Macacus cynomolgus, which is found in all the Indo-Malayan

islands, and has spread from Java through Bali and Lombock to Timor.

This species is very frequent on the banks of rivers, and may have

been conveyed from island to island on trees carried down by hoods. 2.

Paradoxurus fasciatus; a civet cat, very common over a large part of

the Archipelago. 3. Felis megalotis; a tiger cat, said to be peculiar

to Timor, where it exists only in the interior, and is very rare. Its

nearest allies are in Java. 4. Cervus timoriensis; a deer, closely

allied to the Javan and Moluccan species, if distinct. 5. A wild pig,

Sus timoriensis; perhaps the same as some of the Moluccan species. 6.

A shrew mouse, Sorex tenuis; supposed to be peculiar to Timor. 7. An

Eastern opossum, Cuscus orientalis; found also in the Moluccas, if not

a distinct species.

The fact that not one of these species is Australia or nearly allied

to any Australian form, is strongly corroborative of the opinion that

Timor has never formed a part of that country; as in that case some

kangaroo or other marsupial animal would almost certainly be found

there. It is no doubt very difficult to account for the presence of

some of the few mammals that do exist in Timor, especially the tiger

cat and the deer. We must consider, however, that during thousands,

and perhaps hundreds of thousands of years, these islands and the seas

between them have been subjected to volcanic action. The land has been

raised and has sunk again; the straits have been narrowed or widened;

many of the islands may have been joined and dissevered again; violent

floods have again and again devastated the mountains and plains,

carrying out to sea hundreds of forest trees, as has often happened

during volcanic eruptions in Java; and it does not seem improbable

that once in a thousand, or ten thousand years, there should have

occurred such a favourable combination of circumstances as would lead

to the migration of two or three land animals from one island to

another. This is all that we need ask to account for the very scanty

and fragmentary group of Mammalia which now inhabit the large island

of Timor. The deer may very probably have been introduced by man, for

the Malays often keep tame fawns; and it may not require a thousand,

or even five hundred years, to establish new characters in an animal

removed to a country so different in climate and vegetation as is

Timor from the Moluccas. I have not mentioned horses, which are often

thought to be wild in Timor, because there are no grounds whatever for

such a belief. The Timor ponies have every one an owner, and are quite

as much domesticated animals as the cattle on a South American


I have dwelt at some length upon the origin of the Timorese fauna

because it appears to be a most interesting and instructive problem.

It is very seldom that we can trace the animals of a district so

clearly as we can in this case to two definite sources, and still

more rarely that they furnish such decisive evidence of the time, the

manner, and the proportions of their introduction. We have here a

group of Oceanic Islands in miniature--islands which have never formed

part of the adjacent lands, although so closely approaching them; and

their productions have the characteristics of true Oceanic islands

slightly modified. These characteristics are: the absence all Mammalia

except bats; and the occurrence of peculiar species of birds, insects,

and land shells, which, though found nowhere else, are plainly related

to those of the nearest land. Thus, we have an entire absence of

Australian mammals, and the presence of only a few stragglers from the

west which can be accounted for in the manner already indicated. Bats

are tolerably abundant.

Birds have many peculiar species, with a decided relationship to those

of the two nearest masses of land. The insects have similar relations

with the birds. As an example, four species of the Papilionidae are

peculiar to Timor, three others are also found in Java, and one in

Australia. Of the four peculiar species two are decided modifications

of Javanese forms, while the others seen allied to those of the

Moluccas and Celebes. The very few land shells known are all,

curiously enough, allied to or identical with Moluccan or Celebes

forms. The Pieridae (white and yellow butterflies) which wander more,

and from frequenting open grounds, are more liable to be blown out to

sea, seem about equally related to those of Java, Australia, and the


It has been objected to in Mr. Darwin's theory, of Oceanic Islands

having never been connected with the mainland, that this would imply

that their animal population was a matter of chance; it has been

termed the "flotsam and jetsam theory," and it has been maintained

that nature does not work by the "chapter of accidents." But in the

case which I have here described, we have the most positive evidence

that such has been the mode of peopling the islands. Their

productions are of that miscellaneous character which we should

expect front such an origin; and to suppose that they have been

portions of Australia or of Java will introduce perfectly gratuitous

difficulties, and render it quite impossible to explain those curious

relations which the best known group of animals (the birds) have been

shown to exhibit. On the other hand, the depth of the surrounding

seas, the form of the submerged banks, and the volcanic character of

most of the islands, all point to an independent origin.

Before concluding, I must make one remark to avoid misapprehension.

When I say that Timor has never formed part of Australia, I refer only

to recent geological epochs. In Secondary or even Eocene or Miocene

times, Timor and Australia may have been connected; but if so, all

record of such a union has been lost by subsequent submergence, and in

accounting for the present land-inhabitants of any country we have

only to consider those changes which have occurred since its last

elevation above the waters since such last elevation, I feel confident

that Timor has not formed part of Australia.




I LEFT Lombock on the 30th of August, and reached Macassar in

three days. It was with great satisfaction that I stepped on a

shore which I had been vainly trying to reach since February, and

where I expected to meet with so much that was new and


The coast of this part of Celebes is low and flat, lined with

trees and villages so as to conceal the interior, except at

occasional openings which show a wide extent of care and marshy

rice-fields. A few hills of no great height were visible in the

background; but owing to the perpetual haze over the land at this

time of the year, I could nowhere discern the high central range

of the peninsula, or the celebrated peak of Bontyne at its

southern extremity. In the roadstead of Macassar there was a

fine 42-gun frigate, the guardship of the place, as well as a

small war steamer and three or four little cutters used for

cruising after the pirates which infest these seas. There were

also a few square-rigged trading-vessels, and twenty or thirty

native praus of various sizes. I brought letters of introduction to

a Dutch gentleman, Mr. Mesman, and also to a Danish shopkeeper,

who could both speak English and who promised to assist me in

finding a place to stay, suitable for my pursuits. In the

meantime, I went to a kind of clubhouse, in default of any hotel in

the place.

Macassar was the first Dutch town I had visited, and I found it

prettier and cleaner than any I had yet seen in the East. The

Dutch have some admirable local regulations. All European houses

must be kept well white-washed, and every person must, at four in

the afternoon, water the road in front of his house. The streets

are kept clear of refuse, and covered drains carry away all

impurities into large open sewers, into which the tide is

admitted at high-water and allowed to flow out when it has ebbed,

carrying all the sewage with it into the sea. The town consists

chiefly of one long narrow street along the seaside, devoted to

business, and principally occupied by the Dutch and Chinese

merchants' offices and warehouses, and the native shops or

bazaars. This extends northwards for more than a mile, gradually

merging into native houses often of a most miserable description,

but made to have a neat appearance by being all built up exactly

to the straight line of the street, and being generally backed by

fruit trees. This street is usually thronged with a native

population of Bugis and Macassar men, who wear cotton trousers

about twelve inches long, covering only from the hip to half-way

down the thigh, and the universal Malay sarong, of gay checked

colours, worn around the waist or across the shoulders in a

variety of ways. Parallel to this street run two short ones

which form the old Dutch town, and are enclosed by gates. These

consist of private houses, and at their southern end is the fort,

the church, and a road at right angles to the beach, containing

the houses of the Governor and of the principal officials. Beyond

the fort, again along the beach, is another long street of native

huts and many country-houses of the tradesmen and merchants. All

around extend the flat rice-fields, now bare and dry and

forbidding, covered with dusty stubble and weeds. A few months

back these were a mass of verdure, and their barren appearance at

this season offered a striking contrast to the perpetual crops on

the same kind of country in Lombock and Bali, where the seasons

are exactly similar, but where an elaborate system of irrigation

produces the effect of a perpetual spring.

The day after my arrival I paid a visit of ceremony to the

Governor, accompanied by my friend the Danish merchant, who spoke

excellent English. His Excellency was very polite, and offered me

every facility for travelling about the country and prosecuting

my researches in natural history. We conversed in French, which

all Dutch officials speak very well.

Finding it very inconvenient and expensive to stay in the town,

I removed at the end of a week to a little bamboo house, kindly

offered me by Mr. Mesman. It was situated about two miles away,

on a small coffee plantation and farm, and about a mile beyond

Mr. M.'s own country-house. It consisted of two rooms raised

about seven feet above the ground, the lower part being partly

open (and serving excellently to skin birds in) and partly used

as a granary for rice. There was a kitchen and other outhouses,

and several cottages nearby, occupied by men in Mr. M.'s employ.

After being settled a few days in my new house, I found that no

collections could be made without going much further into the

country. The rice-fields for some miles around resembled English

stubbles late in autumn, and were almost as unproductive of bird

or insect life. There were several native villages scattered

about, so embosomed in fruit trees that at a distance they looked

like clumps or patches of forest. These were my only collecting

places; but they produced a very limited number of species, and

were soon exhausted. Before I could move to any more promising

district it was necessary to obtain permission from the Rajah of

Goa, whose territories approach to within two miles of the town

of Macassar. I therefore presented myself at the Governor's

office and requested a letter to the Rajah, to claim his

protection, and permission to travel in his territories whenever

I might wish to do so. This was immediately granted, and a

special messenger was sent with me to carry the letter.

My friend Mr. Mesman kindly lent me a horse, and accompanied me

on my visit to the Rajah, with whom he was great friends. We

found his Majesty seated out of doors, watching the erection of a

new house. He was naked from the waist up, wearing only the usual

short trousers and sarong. Two chairs were brought out for us,

but all the chiefs and other natives were seated on the ground.

The messenger, squatting down at the Rajah's feet, produced the

letter, which was sewn up in a covering of yellow silk. It was

handed to one of the chief officers, who ripped it open and

returned it to the Rajah, who read it, and then showed it to Mr.

M., who both speaks and reads the Macassar language fluently, and

who explained fully what I required. Permission was immediately

granted me to go where I liked in the territories of Goa, but the

Rajah desired, that should I wish to stay any time at a place I

would first give him notice, in order that he might send someone

to see that no injury was done me. Some wine was then brought us,

and afterwards some detestable coffee and wretched sweetmeats,

for it is a fact that I have never tasted good coffee where

people grow it themselves.

Although this was the height of the dry season, and there was a

fine wind all day, it was by no means a healthy time of year. My

boy Ali had hardly been a day on shore when he was attacked by

fever, which put me to great inconvenience, as at the house where

I was staying, nothing could be obtained but at mealtime. After

having cured Ali, and with much difficulty got another servant to

cook for me, I was no sooner settled at my country abode than the

latter was attacked with the same disease; and, having a wife in

the town, left me. Hardly was he gone than I fell ill myself with

strong intermittent fever every other day. In about a week I got

over it, by a liberal use of quinine, when scarcely was I on my

legs than Ali again became worse than ever. Ali's fever attacked

him daily, but early in the morning he was pretty well, and then

managed to cook enough for me for the day. In a week I cured him,

and also succeeded in getting another boy who could cook and shoot,

and had no objection to go into the interior. His name was

Baderoon, and as he was unmarried and had been used to a roving

life, having been several voyages to North Australia to catch

trepang or "beche de mer", I was in hopes of being able to keep

him. I also got hold of a little impudent rascal of twelve or

fourteen, who could speak some Malay, to carry my gun or insect-

net and make himself generally useful. Ali had by this time

become a pretty good bird-skinner, so that I was fairly supplied

with servants.

I made many excursions into the country, in search of a good

station for collecting birds and insects. Some of the villages a

few miles inland are scattered about in woody ground which has

once been virgin forest, but of which the constituent trees have

been for the most part replaced by fruit trees, and particularly

by the large palm, Arenga saccharifera, from which wine and sugar

are made, and which also produces a coarse black fibre used for

cordage. That necessary of life, the bamboo, has also been

abundantly planted. In such places I found a good many birds,

among which were the fine cream-coloured pigeon, Carpophaga

luctuosa, and the rare blue-headed roller, Coracias temmincki,

which has a most discordant voice, and generally goes in pairs,

flying from tree to tree, and exhibiting while at rest that all-

in-a-heap appearance and jerking motion of the head and tail

which are so characteristic of the great Fissirostral group to

which it belongs. From this habit alone, the kingfishers, bee-

eaters, rollers, trogons, and South American puff-birds, might be

grouped together by a person who had observed them in a state of

nature, but who had never had an opportunity of examining their

form and structure in detail. Thousands of crows, rather smaller

than our rook, keep up a constant cawing in these plantations;

the curious wood-swallows (Artami), which closely resemble

swallows in their habits and flight but differ much in form and

structure, twitter from the tree-tops; while a lyre-tailed

drongo-shrike, with brilliant black plumage and milk-white eyes,

continually deceives the naturalist by the variety of its

unmelodious notes.

In the more shady parts butterflies were tolerably abundant; the

most common being species of Euplaea and Danais, which frequent

gardens and shrubberies, and owing to their weak flight are

easily captured. A beautiful pale blue and black butterfly, which

flutters along near the ground among the thickets, and settles

occasionally upon flowers, was one of the most striking; and

scarcely less so, was one with a rich orange band on a blackish

ground--these both belong to the Pieridae, the group that

contains our common white butterflies, although differing so much

from them in appearance. Both were quite new to European

naturalists. [The former has been named Eronia tritaea; the

latter Tachyris ithonae.] Now and then I extended my walks some

miles further, to the only patch of true forest I could find,

accompanied by my two boys with guns and insect-net. We used to

start early, taking our breakfast with us, and eating it wherever

we could find shade and water. At such times my Macassar boys

would put a minute fragment of rice and meat or fish on a leaf,

and lay it on a stone or stump as an offering to the deity of the

spot; for though nominal Mahometans the Macassar people retain

many pagan superstitions, and are but lax in their religious

observances. Pork, it is true, they hold in abhorrence, but will

not refuse wine when offered them, and consume immense quantities

of "sagueir," or palm-wine, which is about as intoxicating as

ordinary beer or cider. When well made it is a very refreshing

drink, and we often took a draught at some of the little sheds

dignified by the name of bazaars, which are scattered about the

country wherever there is any traffic.

One day Mr. Mesman told me of a larger piece of forest where he

sometimes went to shoot deer, but he assured me it was much

further off, and that there were no birds. However, I resolved to

explore it, and the next morning at five o'clock we started,

carrying our breakfast and some other provisions with us, and

intending to stay the night at a house on the borders of the

wood. To my surprise two hours' hard walking brought us to this

house, where we obtained permission to pass the night. We then

walked on, Ali and Baderoon with a gun each, Paso carrying our

provisions and my insect-box, while I took only my net and

collecting-bottle and determined to devote myself wholly to the

insects. Scarcely had I entered the forest when I found some

beautiful little green and gold speckled weevils allied to the

genus Pachyrhynchus, a group which is almost confined to the

Philippine Islands, and is quite unknown in Borneo, Java, or

Malacca. The road was shady and apparently much trodden by horses

and cattle, and I quickly obtained some butterflies I had not

before met with. Soon a couple of reports were heard, and coming

up to my boys I found they had shot two specimens of one of the

finest of known cuckoos, Phoenicophaus callirhynchus. This bird

derives its name from its large bill being coloured of a

brilliant yellow, red, and black, in about equal proportions. The

tail is exceedingly long, and of a fine metallic purple, while

the plumage of the body is light coffee brown. It is one of the

characteristic birds of the island of Celebes, to which it is


After sauntering along for a couple of hours we reached a small

river, so deep that horses could only cross it by swimming, so we

had to turn back; but as we were getting hungry, and the water of

the almost stagnant river was too muddy to drink, we went towards

a house a few hundred yards off. In the plantation we saw a small

raised hut, which we thought would do well for us to breakfast

in, so I entered, and found inside a young woman with an infant.

She handed me a jug of water, but looked very much frightened.

However, I sat down on the doorstep, and asked for the

provisions. In handing them up, Baderoon saw the infant, and

started back as if he had seen a serpent. It then immediately

struck me that this was a hut in which, as among the Dyaks of

Borneo and many other savage tribes, the women are secluded for

some time after the birth of their child, and that we did very

wrong to enter it; so we walked off and asked permission to eat

our breakfast in the family mansion close at hand, which was of

course granted. While I ate, three men, two women, and four

children watched every motion, and never took eyes off me until I

had finished.

On our way back in the heat of the day, I had the good fortune to

capture three specimens of a fine Ornithoptera, the largest, the

most perfect, and the most beautiful of butterflies. I trembled

with excitement as I took the first out of my net and found it to

be in perfect condition. The ground colour of this superb insect

was a rich shining bronzy black, the lower wings delicately

grained with white, and bordered by a row of large spots of the

most brilliant satiny yellow. The body was marked with shaded

spots of white, yellow, and fiery orange, while the head and

thorax were intense black. On the under-side the lower wings were

satiny white, with the marginal spots half black and half yellow.

I gazed upon my prize with extreme interest, as I at first

thought it was quite a new species. It proved however to be a

variety of Ornithoptera remus, one of the rarest and most

remarkable species of this highly esteemed group. I also obtained

several other new and pretty butterflies. When we arrived at our

lodging-house, being particularly anxious about my insect

treasures, I suspended the box from a bamboo on which I could

detect no sign of ants, and then began skinning some of my birds.

During my work I often glanced at my precious box to see that no

intruders had arrived, until after a longer spell of work than

usual I looked again, and saw to my horror that a column of small

red ants were descending the string and entering the box. They

were already busy at work at the bodies of my treasures, and

another half-hour would have seen my whole day's collection

destroyed. As it was, I had to take every insect out, clean them

thoroughly as well as the box, and then seek a place of

safety for them. As the only effectual one, I begged a plate and a

basin from my host, filled the former with water, and standing

the latter in it placed my box on the top, and then felt secure

for the night; a few inches of clean water or oil being the only

barrier these terrible pests are not able to pass.

On returning home to Mamajam (as my house was called) I had a

slight return of intermittent fever, which kept me some days

indoors. As soon as I was well, I again went to Goa, accompanied

by Mr. Mesman, to beg the Rajah's assistance in getting a small

house built for me near the forest. We found him at a cock-fight

in a shed near his palace, which however, he immediately left to

receive us, and walked with us up an inclined plane of boards

which serves for stairs to his house. This was large, well-built,

and lofty, with bamboo floor and glass windows. The greater part

of it seemed to be one large hall divided by the supporting

posts. Near a window sat the Queen, squatting on a rough wooden

arm-chair, chewing the everlasting sirih and betel-nut, while a

brass spittoon by her side and a sirih-box in front were ready to

administer to her wants. The Rajah seated himself opposite to her

in a similar chair, and a similar spittoon and sirih-box were

held by a little boy squatting at his side. Two other chairs were

brought for us. Several young women, some the Rajah's daughters,

others slaves, were standing about; a few were working at frames

making sarongs, but most of them were idle.

And here I might (if I followed the example of most travellers)

launch out into a glowing description of the charms of these

damsels, the elegant costumes they wore, and the gold and silver

ornaments with which they were adorned. The jacket or body of

purple gauze would figure well in such a description, allowing

the heaving bosom to be seen beneath it, while "sparkling eyes,"

and "jetty tresses," and "tiny feet" might be thrown in

profusely. But, alas! regard for truth will not permit me to

expatiate too admiringly on such topics, determined as I am to

give as far as I can a true picture of the people and places I

visit. The princesses were, it is true, sufficiently good-

looking, yet neither their persons nor their garments had that

appearance of freshness and cleanliness without which no other

charms can be contemplated with pleasure. Everything had a dingy

and faded appearance, very disagreeable and unroyal to a European

eye. The only thing that excited some degree of admiration was

the quiet and dignified manner of the Rajah and the great respect

always paid to him. None can stand erect in his presence, and

when he sits on a chair, all present (Europeans of course

excepted) squat upon the ground. The highest seat is literally,

with these people, the place of honour and the sign of rank. So

unbending are the rules in this respect, that when an English

carriage which the Rajah of Lombock bad sent for arrived, it was

found impossible to use it because the driver's seat was the

highest, and it had to be kept as a show in its coach house. On

being told the object of my visit, the Rajah at once said that he

would order a house to be emptied for me, which would be much

better than building one, as that would take a good deal of time.

Bad coffee and sweetmeats were given us as before.

Two days afterwards, I called on the Rajah to ask him to send a

guide with me to show me the house I was to occupy. He

immediately ordered a man to be sent for, gave him instructions,

and in a few minutes we were on our way. My conductor could speak

no Malay, so we walked on in silence for an hour, when we turned

into a pretty good house and I was asked to sit down. The head

man of the district lived here, and in about half an hour we

started again, and another hour's walk brought us to the village

where I was to be lodged. We went to the residence of the

village chief, who conversed with my conductor for some time.

Getting tired, I asked to be shown the house that was prepared

for me, but the only reply I could get was, "Wait a little," and

the parties went on talking as before. So I told them I could not

wait, as I wanted to see the house and then to go shooting in the

forest. This seemed to puzzle them, and at length, in answer to

questions, very poorly explained by one or two bystanders who

knew a little Malay, it came out that no house was ready, and no

one seemed to have the least idea where to get one. As I did not

want to trouble the Rajah any more, I thought it best to try to

frighten them a little; so I told them that if they did not

immediately find me a house as the Rajah had ordered, I should go

back and complain to him, but that if a house was found me I

would pay for the use of it. This had the desired effect, and one

of the head men of the village asked me to go with him and look

for a house. He showed me one or two of the most miserable and

ruinous description, which I at once rejected, saying, "I must

have a good one, and near to the forest." The next he showed me

suited very well, so I told him to see that it was emptied the

next day, for that the day after I should come and occupy it.

On the day mentioned, as I was not quite ready to go, I sent my

two Macassar boys with brooms to sweep out the house thoroughly.

They returned in the evening and told me that when they got

there the house was inhabited, and not a single article removed.

However, on hearing they had come to clean and take possession,

the occupants made a move, but with a good deal of grumbling,

which made me feel rather uneasy as to how the people generally

might take my intrusion into their village. The next morning we

took our baggage on three packhorses, and, after a few break-

downs, arrived about noon at our destination.

After getting all my things set straight, and having made a hasty

meal, I determined if possible to make friends with the people. I

therefore sent for the owner of the house and as many of his

acquaintances as liked to come, to have a "bitchara," or talk.

When they were all seated, I gave them a little tobacco all

around, and having my boy Baderoon for interpreter, tried to

explain to them why I came there; that I was very sorry to turn

them out of the house, but that the Rajah had ordered it rather

than build a new one, which was what I had asked for, and then

placed five silver rupees in the owner's hand as one month's

rent. I then assured them that my being there would be a benefit

to them, as I should buy their eggs and fowls and fruit; and if

their children would bring me shells and insects, of which I

showed them specimens, they also might earn a good many coppers.

After all this had been fully explained to them, with a long talk

and discussion between every sentence, I could see that I had

made a favourable impression; and that very afternoon, as if to

test my promise to buy even miserable little snail-shells, a

dozen children came one after another, bringing me a few

specimens each of a small Helix, for which they duly received

"coppers," and went away amazed but rejoicing.

A few days' exploration made me well acquainted with the

surrounding country. I was a long way from the road in the forest

which I had first visited, and for some distance around my house

were old clearings and cottages. I found a few good butterflies,

but beetles were very scarce, and even rotten timber and newly-

felled trees (generally so productive) here produced scarcely

anything. This convinced me that there was not a sufficient

extent of forest in the neighbourhood to make the place worth

staying at long, but it was too late now to think of going

further, as in about a month the wet season would begin; so I

resolved to stay here and get what was to be had. Unfortunately,

after a few days I became ill with a low fever which produced

excessive lassitude and disinclination to all exertion. In vain I

endeavoured to shake it off; all I could do was to stroll quietly

each day for an hour about the gardens near, and to the well,

where some good insects were occasionally to be found; and the

rest of the day to wait quietly at home, and receive what beetles

and shells my little corps of collectors brought me daily. I

imputed my illness chiefly to the water, which was procured

from shallow wells, around which there was almost always a

stagnant puddle in which the buffaloes wallowed. Close to my

house was an enclosed mudhole where three buffaloes were shut up

every night, and the effluvia from which freely entered through

the open bamboo floor. My Malay boy Ali was affected with the

same illness, and as he was my chief bird-skinner I got on but

slowly with my collections.

The occupations and mode of life of the villagers differed but

little from those of all other Malay races. The time of the women

was almost wholly occupied in pounding and cleaning rice for

daily use, in bringing home firewood and water, and in cleaning,

dyeing, spinning, and weaving the native cotton into sarongs. The

weaving is done in the simplest kind of frame stretched on the

floor; and is a very slow and tedious process. To form the

checked pattern in common use, each patch of coloured threads has

to be pulled up separately by hand and the shuttle passed between

them; so that about an inch a day is the usual progress in stuff

a yard and a half wide. The men cultivate a little sirih (the

pungent pepper leaf used for chewing with betel-nut) and a few

vegetables; and once a year rudely plough a small patch of ground

with their buffaloes and plant rice, which then requires little

attention until harvest time. Now and then they have to see to the

repairs of their houses, and make mats, baskets, or other

domestic utensils, but a large part of their time is passed in


Not a single person in the village could speak more than a few

words of Malay, and hardly any of the people appeared to have

seen a European before. One most disagreeable result of this was

that I excited terror alike in man and beast. Wherever I went,

dogs barked, children screamed, women ran away, and men stared as

though I were some strange and terrible cannibal or monster. Even

the pack-horses on the roads and paths would start aside when I

appeared and rush into the jungle; and as to those horrid, ugly

brutes, the buffaloes, they could never be approached by me; not

for fear of my own but of others' safety. They would first stick

out their necks and stare at me, and then on a nearer view break

loose from their halters or tethers, and rush away helter-skelter

as if a demon were after them, without any regard for what

might be in their way. Whenever I met buffaloes carrying packs

along a pathway, or being driven home to the village, I had to

turn aside into the jungle and hide myself until they had passed,

to avoid a catastrophe which would increase the dislike with

which I was already regarded. Everyday about noon the buffaloes

were brought into the villa, and were tethered in the shade

around the houses; and then I had to creep about like a thief by

backways, for no one could tell what mischief they might do to

children and houses were I to walk among them. If I came suddenly

upon a well where women were drawing water or children bathing, a

sudden flight was the certain result; which things occurring day

after day, were very unpleasant to a person who does not like to

be disliked, and who had never been accustomed to be treated as

an ogre.

About the middle of November, finding my health no better, and

insects, birds, and shells all very scarce, I determined to

return to Mamajam, and pack up my collections before the heavy

rains commenced. The wind bad already begun to blow from the

west, and many signs indicated that the rainy season might set in

earlier than usual; and then everything becomes very damp, and

it is almost impossible to dry collections properly. My kind

friend Mr. Mesman again lent me his pack-horses, and with the

assistance of a few men to carry my birds and insects, which I

did not like to trust on horses' backs, we got everything home

safe. Few can imagine the luxury it was to stretch myself on a

sofa, and to take my supper comfortably at table seated in my

easy bamboo chair, after having for five weeks taken all my meals

uncomfortably on the floor. Such things are trifles in health,

but when the body is weakened by disease the habits of a lifetime

cannot be so easily set aside.

My house, like all bamboo structures in this country, was a

leaning one, the strong westerly winds of the wet season having

set all its posts out of the perpendicular to such a degree as

to make me think it might someday possibly go over altogether.

It is a remarkable thing that the natives of Celebes have not

discovered the use of diagonal struts in strengthening buildings.

I doubt if there is a native house in the country two years old

and at all exposed to the wind, which stands upright; and no

wonder, as they merely consist of posts and joists all placed

upright or horizontal, and fastened rudely together with rattans.

They may be seen in every stage of the process of tumbling down,

from the first slight inclination, to such a dangerous slope that

it becomes a notice to quit to the occupiers.

The mechanical geniuses of the country have only discovered two

ways of remedying the evil. One is, after it has commenced, to

tie the house to a post in the ground on the windward side by a

rattan or bamboo cable. The other is a preventive, but how they

ever found it out and did not discover the true way is a mystery.

This plan is, to build the house in the usual way, but instead of

having all the principal supports of straight posts, to have two

or three of them chosen as crooked as possible. I had often

noticed these crooked posts in houses, but imputed it to the

scarcity of good, straight timber, until one day I met some men

carrying home a post shaped something like a dog's hind leg, and

inquired of my native boy what they were going to do with such a

piece of wood. "To make a post for a house," said he. "But why

don't they get a straight one, there are plenty here?" said I.

"Oh," replied he, "they prefer some like that in a house, because

then it won't fall," evidently imputing the effect to some occult

property of crooked timber. A little consideration and a diagram.

will, however, show, that the effect imputed to the crooked post

may be really produced by it. A true square changes its figure

readily into a rhomboid or oblique figure, but when one or two of

the uprights are bent or sloping, and placed so as to oppose each

other, the effect of a strut is produced, though in a rude and

clumsy manner.

Just before I had left Mamajam the people had sown a considerable

quantity of maize, which appears above ground in two or three

days, and in favourable seasons ripens in less than two months.

Owing to a week's premature rains the ground was all flooded when

I returned, and the plants just coming into ear were yellow and

dead. Not a grain would be obtained by the whole village, but

luckily it is only a luxury, not a necessity of life. The rain

was the signal for ploughing to begin, in order to sow rice on

all the flat lands between us and the town. The plough used is a

rude wooden instrument with a very short single handle, a

tolerably well-shaped coulter, and the point formed of a piece of

hard palm-wood fastened in with wedges. One or two buffaloes draw

it at a very slow pace. The seed is sown broadcast, and a rude

wooden harrow is used to smooth the surface.

By the beginning of December the regular wet season had set in.

Westerly winds and driving rains sometimes continued for days

together; the fields for miles around were under water, and the

ducks and buffaloes enjoyed themselves amazingly. All along the

road to Macassar, ploughing was daily going on in the mud and

water, through which the wooden plough easily makes its way, the

ploughman holding the plough-handle with one hand while a long

bamboo in the other serves to guide the buffaloes. These animals

require an immense deal of driving to get them on at all; a

continual shower of exclamations is kept up at them, and "Oh! ah!

Gee! ugh!" are to be heard in various keys and in an uninterrupted

succession all day long. At night we were favoured with a different

kind of concert. The dry ground around my house had become a marsh

tenanted by frogs, who kept up a most incredible noise from dusk to

dawn. They were somewhat musical too, having a deep vibrating note

which at times closely resembles the tuning of two or three bass-viols

in an orchestra. In Malacca and Borneo I had heard no such sounds as

these, which indicates that the frogs, like most of the animals of

Celebes, are of species peculiar to it.

My kind friend and landlord, Mr. Mesman, was a good specimen of

the Macassar-born Dutchman. He was about thirty-five years of

age, had a large family, and lived in a spacious house near the

town, situated in the midst of a grove of fruit trees, and

surrounded by a perfect labyrinth of offices, stables, and native

cottages occupied by his numerous servants, slaves, or

dependants. He usually rose before the sun, and after a cup of

coffee looked after his servants, horses, and dogs, until seven,

when a substantial breakfast of rice and meat was ready in a cool

verandah. Putting on a clean white linen suit, he then (trove to

town in his buggy, where he had an office, with two or three

Chinese clerks who looked after his affairs. His business was

that of a coffee and opium merchant. He had a coffee estate at

Bontyne, and a small prau which traded to the Eastern islands

near New Guinea, for mother-of-pearl and tortoiseshell. About one

he would return home, have coffee and cake or fried plantain,

first changing his dress for a coloured cotton shirt and trousers

and bare feet, and then take a siesta with a book. About four,

after a cup of tea, he would walk round his premises, and

generally stroll down to Mamajam to pay me a visit, and look

after his farm.

This consisted of a coffee plantation and an orchard of fruit

trees, a dozen horses and a score of cattle, with a small village

of Timorese slaves and Macassar servants. One family looked after

the cattle and supplied the house with milk, bringing me also a

large glassful every morning, one of my greatest luxuries. Others

had charge of the horses, which were brought in every afternoon

and fed with cut grass. Others had to cut grass for their

master's horses at Macassar--not a very easy task in the dry

season, when all the country looks like baked mud; or in the

rainy season, when miles in every direction are flooded. How they

managed it was a mystery to me, but they know grass must be had,

and they get it. One lame woman had charge of a flock of ducks.

Twice a day she took them out to feed in the marshy places, let

them waddle and gobble for an hour or two, and then drove them

back and shut them up in a small dark shed to digest their meal,

whence they gave forth occasionally a melancholy quack. Every

night a watch was set, principally for the sake of the horses--

the people of Goa, only two miles off, being notorious thieves,

and horses offering the easiest and most valuable spoil. This

enabled me to sleep in security, although many people in Macassar

thought I was running a great risk, living alone in such a

solitary place and with such bad neighbours.

My house was surrounded by a kind of straggling hedge of roses,

jessamines, and other flowers, and every morning one of the women

gathered a basketful of the blossoms for Mr. Mesman's family. I

generally took a couple for my own breakfast table, and the

supply never failed during my stay, and I suppose never does.

Almost every Sunday Mr. M. made a shooting excursion with his

eldest son, a lad of fifteen, and I generally accompanied him;

for though the Dutch are Protestants, they do not observe Sunday

in the rigid manner practised in England and English colonies.

The Governor of the place has his public reception every Sunday

evening, when card-playing is the regular amusement.

On December 13th I went on board a prau bound for the Aru

Islands, a journey which will be described in the latter part of

this work.

On my return, after a seven months' absence, I visited another

district to the north of Macassar, which will form the subject of

the next chapter.




I REACHED Macassar again on the 11th of July, and established

myself in my old quarters at Mamajam, to sort, arrange, clean,

and pack up my Aru collections. This occupied me a month; and

having shipped them off for Singapore, had my guns repaired, and

received a new one from England, together with a stock of pins,

arsenic, and other collecting requisites. I began to feel eager

for work again, and had to consider where I should spend my time

until the end of the year; I had left Macassar seven months

before, a flooded marsh being ploughed up for the rice-sowing.

The rains had continued for five months, yet now all the rice was

cut, and dry and dusty stubble covered the country just as when

I had first arrived there.

After much inquiry I determined to visit the district of Maros,

about thirty miles north of Macassar, where Mr. Jacob Mesman, a

brother of my friend, resided, who had kindly offered to find me

house-room and give me assistance should I feel inclined to visit

him. I accordingly obtained a pass from the Resident, and having

hired a boat set off one evening for Maros. My boy Ali was so ill

with fever that I was obliged to leave him in the hospital, under

the care of my friend the German doctor, and I had to make shift

with two new servants utterly ignorant of everything. We coasted

along during the night, and at daybreak entered the Maros river,

and by three in the afternoon reached the village. I immediately

visited the Assistant Resident, and applied for ten men to carry

my baggage, and a horse for myself. These were promised to be

ready that night, so that I could start as soon as I liked in the

morning. After having taken a cup of tea I took my leave, and

slept in the boat. Some of the men came at night as promised, but

others did not arrive until the next morning. It took some time to

divide my baggage fairly among them, as they all wanted to shirk

the heavy boxes, and would seize hold of some light article and

march off with it, until made to come back and wait until the whole

had been fairly apportioned. At length about eight o'clock all

was arranged, and we started for our walk to Mr. M.'s farm.

The country was at first a uniform plain of burned-up rice-

grounds, but at a few miles' distance precipitous hills appeared,

backed by the lofty central range of the peninsula. Towards these

our path lay, and after having gone six or eight miles the hills

began to advance into the plain right and left of us, and the

ground became pierced here and there with blocks and pillars of

limestone rock, while a few abrupt conical hills and peaks rose

like islands. Passing over an elevated tract forming the

shoulder of one of the hills, a picturesque scene lay before us.

We looked down into a little valley almost entirely surrounded by

mountains, rising abruptly in huge precipices, and forming a

succession of knolls and peaks aid domes of the most varied and

fantastic shapes. In the very centre of the valley was a large

bamboo house, while scattered around were a dozen cottages of

the same material.

I was kindly received by Mr. Jacob Mesman in an airy saloon

detached from the house, and entirely built of bamboo and

thatched with grass. After breakfast he took me to his foreman's

house, about a hundred yards off, half of which was given up to

me until I should decide where to have a cottage built for my own

use. I soon found that this spot was too much exposed to the wind

and dust, which rendered it very difficult to work with papers or

insects. It was also dreadfully hot in the afternoon, and after a

few days I got a sharp attack of fever, which determined me to

move. I accordingly fixed on a place about a mile off, at the

foot of a forest-covered hill, where in a few days Mr. M. built

for me a nice little house, consisting of a good-sized enclosed

verandah or open room, and a small inner sleeping-room, with a

little cookhouse outside. As soon as it was finished I moved into

it, and found the change most agreeable.

The forest which surrounded me was open and free from underwood,

consisting of large trees, widely scattered with a great quantity

of palm-trees (Arenga saccharifera), from which palm wine and

sugar are made. There were also great numbers of a wild Jack-

fruit tree (Artocarpus), which bore abundance of large

reticulated fruit, serving as an excellent vegetable. The ground

was as thickly covered with dry leaves as it is in an English

wood in November; the little rocky streams were all dry, and

scarcely a drop of water or even a damp place was anywhere to be

seen. About fifty yards below my house, at the foot of the hill,

was a deep hole in a watercourse where good water was to be had,

and where I went daily to bathe by having buckets of water taken

out and pouring it over my body.

My host Mr. M. enjoyed a thoroughly country life, depending

almost entirely on his gun and dogs to supply his table. Wild

pigs of large size were very plentiful and he generally got one

or two a week, besides deer occasionally, and abundance of

jungle-fowl, hornbills, and great fruit pigeons. His buffaloes

supplied plenty of milk from which he made his own butter; he

grew his own rice and coffee, and had ducks, fowls, and their

eggs, in profusion. His palm-trees supplied him all the year round

with "sagueir," which takes the place of beer; and the sugar made

from them is an excellent sweetmeat. All the fine tropical

vegetables and fruits were abundant in their season, and his

cigars were made from tobacco of his own raising. He kindly sent

me a bamboo of buffalo-milk every morning; it was as thick as

cream, and required diluting with water to keep it fluid during

the day. It mixes very well with tea and coffee, although it has

a slight peculiar flavour, which after a time is not

disagreeable. I also got as much sweet "sagueir "as I liked to

drink, and Mr. M. always sent me a piece of each pig he killed,

which with fowls, eggs, and the birds we shot ourselves, and

buffalo beef about once a fortnight, kept my larder sufficiently

well supplied.

Every bit of flatland was cleared and used as rice-fields, and

on the lower slopes of many of the hills tobacco and vegetables

were grown. Most of the slopes are covered with huge blocks of

rock, very fatiguing to scramble over, while a number of the

hills are so precipitous as to be quite inaccessible. These

circumstances, combined with the excessive drought, were very

unfavourable for lily pursuits. Birds were scarce, and I got but

few new to me. Insects were tolerably plentiful, but unequal.

Beetles, usually so numerous and interesting, were exceedingly

scarce, some of the families being quite absent and others only

represented by very minute species. The Flies and Bees, on the

other hand, were abundant, and of these I daily obtained new and

interesting species. The rare and beautiful Butterflies of

Celebes were the chief object of my search, and I found many

species altogether new to me, but they were generally so active

and shy as to render their capture a matter of great difficulty.

Almost the only good place for them was in the dry beds of the

streams in the forest, where, at damp places, muddy pools, or

even on the dry rocks, all sorts of insects could be found. In

these rocky forests dwell some of the finest butterflies in the

world. Three species of Ornithoptera, measuring seven or eight

inches across the wings, and beautifully marked with spots or

masses of satiny yellow on a black ground, wheel through the

thickets with a strong sailing flight. About the damp places are

swarms of the beautiful blue-banded Papilios, miletus and

telephus, the superb golden green P. macedon, and the rare little

swallow-tail Papilio rhesus, of all of which, though very active,

I succeeded in capturing fine series of specimens.

I have rarely enjoyed myself more than during my residence here.

As I sat taking my coffee at six in the morning, rare birds would

often be seen on some tree close by, when I would hastily sally

out in my slippers, and perhaps secure a prize I had been

seeking after for weeks. The great hornbills of Celebes (Buceros

cassidix) would often come with loud-flapping wings, and perch

upon a lofty tree just in front of me; and the black baboon-

monkeys, Cynopithecus nigrescens, often stared down in

astonishment at such an intrusion into their domains while at

night herds of wild pigs roamed about the house, devouring

refuse, and obliging us to put away everything eatable or

breakable from our little cooking-house. A few minutes' search on

the fallen trees around my house at sunrise and sunset, would

often produce me more beetles than I would meet with in a day's

collecting, and odd moments could be made valuable which when

living in villages or at a distance from the forest are

inevitably wasted. Where the sugar-palms were dripping with sap,

flies congregated in immense numbers, and it was by spending half

an hour at these when I had the time to spare, that I obtained

the finest and most remarkable collection of this group of

insects that I have ever made.

Then what delightful hours I passed wandering up and down the dry

river-courses, full of water-holes and rocks and fallen trees,

and overshadowed by magnificent vegetation. I soon got to know

every hole and rock and stump, and came up to each with cautious

step and bated breath to see what treasures it would produce. At

one place I would find a little crowd of the rare butterfly

Tachyris zarinda, which would rise up at my approach, and display

their vivid orange and cinnabar-red wings, while among them would

flutter a few of the fine blue-banded Papilios. Where leafy

branches hung over the gully, I might expect to find a grand

Ornithoptera at rest and an easy prey. At certain rotten trunks I

was sure to get the curious little tiger beetle, Therates

flavilabris. In the denser thickets I would capture the small

metal-blue butterflies (Amblypodia) sitting on the leaves, as

well as some rare and beautiful leaf-beetles of the families

Hispidae and Chrysomelidae.

I found that the rotten jack-fruits were very attractive to many

beetles, and used to split them partly open and lay them about in

the forest near my house to rot. A morning's search at these

often produced me a score of species--Staphylinidae, Nitidulidae,

Onthophagi, and minute Carabidae, being the most abundant. Now

and then the "sagueir" makers brought me a fine rosechafer

(Sternoplus schaumii) which they found licking up the sweet sap.

Almost the only new birds I met with for some time were a

handsome ground thrush (Pitta celebensis), and a beautiful

violet-crowned dove (Ptilonopus celebensis), both very similar to

birds I had recently obtained at Aru, but of distinct species.

About the latter part of September a heavy shower of rain fell,

admonishing us that we might soon expect wet weather, much to the

advantage of the baked-up country. I therefore determined to pay

a visit to the falls of the Maros river, situated at the point

where it issues from the mountains--a spot often visited by

travellers and considered very beautiful. Mr. M. lent me a horse,

and I obtained a guide from a neighbouring village; and taking

one of my men with me, we started at six in the morning, and

after a ride of two hours over the flat rice-fields skirting the

mountains which rose in grand precipices on our left, we readied

the river about half-way between Maros and the falls, and thence

had a good bridle-road to our destination, which we reached. in

another hour. The hills had closed in around us as we advanced;

and when we reached a ruinous shed which had been erected for the

accommodation of visitors, we found ourselves in a flat-bottomed

valley about a quarter of a mile wide, bounded by precipitous and

often overhanging limestone rocks. So far the ground had been

cultivated, but it now became covered with bushes and large

scattered trees.

As soon as my scanty baggage had arrived and was duly deposited

in the shed, I started off alone for the fall, which was about a

quarter of a mile further on. The river is here about twenty

yards wide, and issues from a chasm between two vertical walls of

limestone, over a rounded mass of basaltic rock about forty feet

high, forming two curves separated by a slight ledge. The water

spreads beautifully over this surface in a thin sheet of foam,

which curls and eddies in a succession of concentric cones until

it falls into a fine deep pool below. Close to the very edge of

the fall a narrow and very rugged path leads to the river above,

and thence continues close under the precipice along the water's

edge, or sometimes in the water, for a few hundred yards, after

which the rocks recede a little, and leave a wooded bank on one

side, along which the path is continued, until in about half a

mile, a second and smaller fall is reached. Here the river seems

to issue from a cavern, the rocks having fallen from above so as to

block up the channel and bar further progress. The fall itself

can only be reached by a path which ascends behind a huge slice

of rock which has partly fallen away from the mountain, leaving a

space two or three feet wide, but disclosing a dark chasm

descending into the bowels of the mountain, and which, having

visited several such, I had no great curiosity to explore.

Crossing the stream a little below the upper fall, the path

ascends a steep slope for about five hundred feet, and passing

through a gap enters a narrow valley, shut in by walls of rock

absolutely perpendicular and of great height. Half a mile further

this valley turns abruptly to the right, and becomes a mere rift

in the mountain. This extends another half mile, the walls

gradually approaching until they are only two feet apart, and the

bottom rising steeply to a pass which leads probably into another

valley, but which I had no time to explore. Returning to where

this rift had begun the main path turns up to the left in a sort

of gully, and reaches a summit over which a fine natural arch of

rock passes at a height of about fifty feet. Thence was a steep

descent through thick jungle with glimpses of precipices and

distant rocky mountains, probably leading into the main river

valley again. This was a most tempting region to explore, but

there were several reasons why I could go no further. I had no

guide, and no permission to enter the Bugis territories, and as

the rains might at any time set in, I might be prevented from

returning by the flooding of the river. I therefore devoted

myself during the short time of my visit to obtaining what

knowledge I could of the natural productions of the place.

The narrow chasms produced several fine insects quite new to me,

and one new bird, the curious Phlaegenas tristigmata, a large

ground pigeon with yellow breast and crown, and purple neck.

This rugged path is the highway from Maros to the Bugis country

beyond the mountains. During the rainy season it is quite impassable,

the river filling its bed and rushing between perpendicular

cliffs many hundred feet high. Even at the time of my visit it

was most precipitous and fatiguing, yet women and children came

over it daily, and men carrying heavy loads of palm sugar (of very

little value). It was along the path between the lower and the

upper falls, and about the margin of the upper pool, that I found

most insects. The large semi-transparent butterfly, Idea tondana,

flew lazily along by dozens, and it was here that I at length

obtained an insect which I had hoped but hardly expected to meet

with--the magnificent Papilio androcles, one of the largest and

rarest known swallow-tailed butterflies. During my four days'

stay at the falls, I was so fortunate as to obtain six good

specimens. As this beautiful creature flies, the long white tails

flicker like streamers, and when settled on the beach it carries

them raised upwards, as if to preserve them from injury. It is

scarce even here, as I did not see more than a dozen specimens in

all, and had to follow many of them up and down the river's bank

repeatedly before I succeeded in their capture. When the sun

shone hottest, about noon, the moist beach of the pool below the

upper fall presented a beautiful sight, being dotted with groups

of gay butterflies--orange, yellow, white, blue, and green--

which on being disturbed rose into the air by hundreds, forming

clouds of variegated colours.

Such gores, chasms, and precipices here abound,as I have nowhere

seen in the Archipelago. A sloping surface is scarcely anywhere

to be found, huge walls and rugged masses of rock terminating all

the mountains and enclosing the valleys. In many parts there are

vertical or even overhanging precipices five or six hundred feet

high, yet completely clothed with a tapestry of vegetation.

Ferns, Pandanaceae, shrubs, creepers, and even forest trees, are

mingled in an evergreen network, through the interstices of which

appears the white limestone rock or the dark holes and chasms

with which it abounds. These precipices are enabled to sustain

such an amount of vegetation by their peculiar structure. Their

surfaces are very irregular, broken into holes and fissures, with

ledges overhanging the mouths of gloomy caverns; but from each

projecting part have descended stalactites, often forming a wild

gothic tracery over the caves and receding hollows, and affording

an admirable support to the roots of the shrubs, trees, and

creepers, which luxuriate in the warm pure atmosphere and the

gentle moisture which constantly exudes from the rocks. In places

where the precipice offers smooth surfaces of solid rock, it

remains quite bare, or only stained with lichens, and dotted with

clumps of ferns that grow on the small ledges and in the minutest


The reader who is familiar with tropical nature only through the

medium of books and botanical gardens will picture to himself in

such a spot many other natural beauties. He will think that I

have unaccountably forgotten to mention the brilliant flowers,

which, in gorgeous masses of crimson, gold or azure, must spangle

these verdant precipices, hang over the cascade, and adorn the

margin of the mountain stream. But what is the reality? In vain

did I gaze over these vast walls of verdure, among the pendant

creepers and bushy shrubs, all around the cascade on the river's

bank, or in the deep caverns and gloomy fissures--not one single

spot of bright colour could be seen, not one single tree or bush

or creeper bore a flower sufficiently conspicuous to form an

object in the landscape. In every direction the eye rested on

green foliage and mottled rock. There was infinite variety in the

colour and aspect of the foliage; there was grandeur in the rocky

masses and in the exuberant luxuriance of the vegetation; but

there was no brilliancy of colour, none of those bright flowers

and gorgeous masses of blossom so generally considered to be

everywhere present in the tropics. I have here given an accurate

sketch of a luxuriant tropical scene as noted down on the spot,

and its general characteristics as regards colour have been so

often repeated, both in South America and over many thousand

miles in the Eastern tropics, that I am driven to conclude that

it represents the general aspect of nature at the equatorial

(that is, the most tropical) parts of the tropical regions.

How is it then, that the descriptions of travellers generally give

a very different idea? and where, it may be asked, are the

glorious flowers that we know do exist in the tropics? These

questions can be easily answered. The fine tropical flowering-

plants cultivated in our hothouses have been culled from the

most varied regions, and therefore give a most erroneous idea of

their abundance in any one region. Many of them are very rare,

others extremely local, while a considerable number inhabit the

more arid regions of Africa and India, in which tropical

vegetation does not exhibit itself in its usual luxuriance. Fine

and varied foliage, rather than gay flowers, is more

characteristic of those parts where tropical vegetation attains

its highest development, and in such districts each kind of

flower seldom lasts in perfection more than a few weeks, or

sometimes a few days. In every locality a lengthened residence

will show an abundance of magnificent and gaily-blossomed plants,

but they have to be sought for, and are rarely at any one time or

place so abundant as to form a perceptible feature in the

landscape. But it has been the custom of travellers to describe

and group together all the fine plants they have met with during

a long journey, and thus produce the effect of a gay and flower-

painted landscape. They have rarely studied and described

individual scenes where vegetation was most luxuriant and

beautiful, and fairly stated what effect was produced in them by

flowers. I have done so frequently, and the result of these

examinations has convinced me that the bright colours of flowers

have a much greater influence on the general aspect of nature in

temperate than in tropical climates. During twelve years spent

amid the grandest tropical vegetation, I have seen nothing

comparable to the effect produced on our landscapes by gorse,

broom, heather, wild hyacinths, hawthorn, purple orchises, and


The geological structure of this part of Celebes is interesting.

The limestone mountains, though of great extent, seem to be

entirely superficial, resting on a basis of basalt which in some

places forms low rounded hills between the more precipitous

mountains. In the rocky beds of the streams basalt is almost

always found, and it is a step in this rock which forms the

cascade already described. From it the limestone precipices rise

abruptly; and in ascending the little stairway along the side of

the fall, you step two or three times from tpe of rock on to

the other--the limestone dry and rough, being worn by the water

and rains into sharp ridges and honeycombed holes--the basalt

moist, even, and worn smooth and slippery by the passage of bare-

footed pedestrians. The solubility of the limestone by rain-water

is well seen in the little blocks and peaks which rise thickly

through the soil of the alluvial plains as you approach the

mountains. They are all skittle-shaped, larger in the middle than

at the base, the greatest diameter occurring at the height to

which the country is flooded in the wet season, and thence

decreasing regularly to the ground. Many of them overhang

considerably, and some of the slenderer pillars appear to stand

upon a point. When the rock is less solid it becomes curiously

honeycombed by the rains of successive winters, and I noticed

some masses reduced to a complete network of stone through which

light could be seen in every direction.

From these mountains to the sea extends a perfectly flat alluvial

plain, with no indication that water would accumulate at a great

depth beneath it, yet the authorities at Macassar have spent much

money in boring a well a thousand feet deep in hope of getting a

supply of water like that obtained by the Artesian wells in the

London and Paris basins. It is not to be wondered at that the

attempt was unsuccessful.

Returning to my forest hut, I continued my daily search after

birds and insects. The weather, however, became dreadfully hot and

dry, every drop of water disappearing from the pools and rock-

holes, and with it the insects which frequented them. Only one

group remained unaffected by the intense drought; the Diptera, or

two-winged flies, continued as plentifully as ever, and on these I

was almost compelled to concentrate my attention for a week or

two, by which means I increased my collection of that Order to

about two hundred species. I also continued to obtain a few new

birds, among which were two or three kinds of small hawks and

falcons, a beautiful brush-tongued paroquet, Trichoglossus

ornatus, and a rare black and white crow, Corvus advena.

At length, about the middle of October, after several gloomy days,

down came a deluge of rain which continued to fall almost every

afternoon, showing that the early part of the wet season had

commenced. I hoped now to get a good harvest of insects, and in

some respects I was not disappointed. Beetles became much more

numerous, and under a thick bed of leaves that had accumulated on

some rocks by the side of a forest stream, I found an abundance

of Carbidae, a family generally scarce in the tropics. The

butterflies, however, disappeared. Two of my servants were attacked

with fever, dysentery, and swelled feet, just at the time that

the third had left me, and for some days they both lay groaning

in the house. When they got a little better I was attacked

myself, and as my stores were nearly finished and everything was

getting very damp, I was obliged to prepare for my return to

Macassar, especially as the strong westerly winds would render

the passage in a small open boat disagreeable, if not dangerous.

Since the rains began, numbers of huge millipedes, as thick as

one's finger and eight or ten inches long, crawled about

everywhere--in the paths, on trees, about the house--and one

morning when I got up I even found one in my bed! They were

generally of a dull lead colour or of a deep brick red, and were

very nasty-looking things to be coming everywhere in one's way,

although quite harmless. Snakes too began to show themselves. I

killed two of a very abundant species--big-headed, and of a bright

green colour, which lie coiled up on leaves and shrubs and can

scarcely be seen until one is close upon them. Brown snakes got

into my net while beating among dead leaves for insects, and made

me rather cautious about inserting my hand until I knew what kind

of game I had captured. The fields and meadows which had been

parched and sterile, now became suddenly covered with fine long

grass; the river-bed where I had so many times walked over

burning rocks, was now a deep and rapid stream; and numbers of

herbaceous plants and shrubs were everywhere springing up and

bursting into flower. I found plenty of new insects, and if I had

had a good, roomy, water-and-wind-proof house, I should perhaps

have stayed during the wet season, as I feel sure many things can

then be obtained which are to be found at no other time. With my

summer hut, however, this was impossible. During the heavy rains

a fine drizzly mist penetrated into every part of it, and I began

to have the greatest difficulty in keeping my specimens dry.

Early in November I returned to Macassar, and having packed up my

collections, started in the Dutch mail steamer for Amboyna and

Ternate. Leaving this part of my journey for the present, I will

in the next chapter conclude my account of Celebes, by describing

the extreme northern part of the island which I visited two years





IT was after my residence at Timor-Coupang that I visited the

northeastern extremity of Celebes, touching Banda, Amboyna, and

Ternate on my way. I reached Menado on the 10th of June, 1859,

and was very kindly received by Mr. Tower, an Englishman, but a

very old resident in Menado, where he carries on a general

business. He introduced me to Mr. L. Duivenboden (whose father

had been my friend at Ternate), who had much taste for natural

history; and to Mr. Neys, a native of Menado, but who was

educated at Calcutta, and to whom Dutch, English, and Malay were

equally mother-tongues. All these gentlemen showed me the

greatest kindness, accompanied me in my earliest walks about the

country, and assisted me by every means in their power. I spent a

week in the town very pleasantly, making explorations and

inquiries after a good collecting station, which I had much

difficulty in finding, owing to the wide cultivation of coffee

and cacao, which has led to the clearing away of the forests for

many miles around the town, and over extensive districts far into

the interior.

The little town of Menado is one of the prettiest in the East. It

has the appearance of a large garden containing rows of rustic

villas with broad paths between, forming streets generally at

right angles with each other. Good roads branch off in several

directions towards the interior, with a succession of pretty

cottages, neat gardens, and thriving plantations, interspersed

with wildernesses of fruit trees. To the west and south the

country is mountainous, with groups of fine volcanic peaks 6,000

or 7,000 feet high, forming grand and picturesque backgrounds to

the landscape.

The inhabitants of Minahasa (as this part of Celebes is called)

differ much from those of all the rest of the island, and in fact

from any other people in the Archipelago. They are of a light-

brown or yellow tint, often approaching the fairness of a

European; of a rather short stature, stout and well-made; of an

open and pleasing countenance, more or less disfigured as age

increases by projecting check-bones; and with the usual long,

straight, jet-black hair of the Malayan races. In some of the

inland villages where they may be supposed to be of the purest

race, both men and women are remarkably handsome; while nearer

the coasts where the purity of their blood has been destroyed by

the intermixture of other races, they approach to the ordinary

types of the wild inhabitants of the surrounding countries.

In mental and moral characteristics they are also highly

peculiar. They are remarkably quiet and gentle in disposition,

submissive to the authority of those they consider their

superiors, and easily induced to learn and adopt the habits of

civilized people. They are clever mechanics, and seem capable of

acquiring a considerable amount of intellectual education.

Up to a very recent period these people were thorough savages,

and there are persons now living in Menado who remember a state

of things identical with that described by the writers of the

sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The inhabitants of the

several villages were distinct tribes, each under its own chief,

speaking languages unintelligible to each other, and almost

always at war. They built their houses elevated upon lofty posts

to defend themselves from the attacks of their enemies. They were

headhunters like the Dyaks of Borneo, and were said to be

sometimes cannibals. When a chief died, his tomb was adorned with

two fresh human heads; and if those of enemies could not be

obtained, slaves were killed for the occasion. Human skulls were

the great ornaments of the chiefs' houses. Strips of bark were

their only dress. The country was a pathless wilderness, with

small cultivated patches of rice and vegetables, or clumps of

fruit-trees, diversifying the otherwise unbroken forest. Their

religion was that naturally engendered in the undeveloped human

mind by the contemplation of grand natural phenomena and the

luxuriance of tropical nature. The burning mountain, the torrent

and the lake, were the abode of their deities; and certain trees

and birds were supposed to have special influence over men's

actions and destiny. They held wild and exciting festivals to

propitiate these deities or demons, and believed that men could

be changed by them into animals--either during life or after


Here we have a picture of true savage life; of small isolated

communities at war with all around them, subject to the wants and

miseries of such a condition, drawing a precarious existence from

the luxuriant soil, and living on, from generation to generation,

with no desire for physical amelioration, and no prospect of

moral advancement.

Such was their condition down to the year 1822, when the coffee-

plant was first introduced, and experiments were made as to its

cultivation. It was found to succeed admirably from fifteen

hundred feet, up to four thousand feet above the sea. The chiefs of

villages were induced to undertake its cultivation. Seed and

native instructors were sent from Java; food was supplied to the

labourers engaged in clearing and planting; a fixed price was

established at which all coffee brought to the government

collectors was to be paid for, and the village chiefs who now

received the titles of "Majors" were to receive five percent of

the produce. After a time, roads were made from the port of

Menado up to the plateau, and smaller paths were cleared from

village to village; missionaries settled in the more populous

districts and opened schools; and Chinese traders penetrated to

the interior and supplied clothing and other luxuries in exchange

for the money which the sale of the coffee had produced.

At the same time, the country was divided into districts, and the

system of "Controlleurs," which had worked so well in Java, was

introduced. The "Controlleur "was a European, or a native of

European blood, who was the general superintendent of the

cultivation of the district, the adviser of the chiefs, the

protector of the people, and the means of communication between

both and the European Government. His duties obliged him to visit

every village in succession once a month, and to send in a

report on their condition to the Resident. As disputes between

adjacent villages were now settled by appeal to a superior

authority, the old and inconvenient semi-fortified houses were

disused, and under the direction of the "Controlleurs" most of

the houses were rebuilt on a neat and uniform plan. It was this

interesting district which I was now about to visit.

Having decided on my route, I started at 8 A.M. on the 22d of

June. Mr. Tower drove me the first three miles in his chaise, and

Mr. Neys accompanied me on horseback three miles further to the

village of Lotta. Here we met the Controlleur of the district of

Tondano, who was returning home from one of his monthly tours,

and who had agreed to act as my guide and companion on the

journey. From Lotta we had an almost continual ascent for six

miles, which brought us on to the plateau of Tondano at an

elevation of about 2,400 feet. We passed through three villages

whose neatness and beauty quite astonished me. The main road,

along which all the coffee is brought down from the interior in

carts drawn by buffaloes, is always turned aside at the entrance

of a village, so as to pass behind it, and thus allow the village

street itself to be kept neat and clean. This is bordered by neat

hedges often formed entirely of rose-trees, which are perpetually

in blossom. There is a broad central path and a border of fine

turf, which is kept well swept and neatly cut. The houses are all

of wood, raised about six feet on substantial posts neatly

painted blue, while the walls are whitewashed. They all have a

verandah enclosed with a neat balustrade, and are generally

surrounded by orange-trees and flowering shrubs. The surrounding

scenery is verdant and picturesque. Coffee plantations of extreme

luxuriance, noble palms and tree ferns, wooded hills and volcanic

peaks, everywhere meet the eye. I had heard much of the beauty of

this country, but the reality far surpassed my expectations.

About one o'clock we reached Tomohˇn, the chief place of a

district, having a native chief now called the "Major," at whose

house we were to dine. Here was a fresh surprise for me. The

house was large, airy and very substantially built of hard native

timber, squared and put together in a most workmanlike manner. It

was furnished in European style, with handsome chandelier lamps,

and the chairs and tables all well made by native workmen. As

soon as we entered, madeira and bitters were offered us. Then two

handsome boys neatly dressed in white, and with smoothly brushed

jet-black hair, handed us each a basin of water and a clean

napkin on a salver. The dinner was excellent. Fowls cooked in

various ways; wild pig roasted, stewed and fried; a fricassee of

bats, potatoes, rice and other vegetables; all served on good

china, with finger glasses and fine napkins, and abundance of

good claret and beer, seemed to me rather curious at the table of

a native chief on the mountains of Celebes. Our host was dressed

in a suit of black with patent-leather shoes, and really looked

comfortable and almost gentlemanly in them. He sat at the head of

the table and did the honours well, though he did not talk much.

Our conversation was entirely in Malay, as that is the official

language here, and in fact the mother-tongue and only language of

the Controlleur, who is a native-born half-breed. The Major's

father who was chief before him, wore, I was informed, a strip of

bark as his sole costume, and lived in a rude but raised home

on lofty poles, and abundantly decorated with human heads. Of course

we were expected, and our dinner was prepared in the best style, but

I was assured that the chiefs all take a pride in adopting

European customs, and in being able to receive their visitors in

a handsome manner.

After dinner and coffee, the Controlleur went on to Tondano, and

I strolled about the village waiting for my baggage, which was

coming in a bullock-cart, and did not arrive until after midnight.

Supper was very similar to dinner, and on retiring I found an

elegant little room with a comfortable bed, gauze curtains with

blue and red hangings, and every convenience. Next morning at

sunrise the thermometer in the verandah stood at 69░, which I was

told is about the usual lowest temperature at this place, 2,500

feet above the sea. I had a good breakfast of coffee, eggs, and

fresh bread and butter, which I took in the spacious verandah

amid the odour of roses, jessamine, and other sweet-scented

flowers, which filled the garden in front; and about eight

o'clock left Tomohˇn with a dozen men carrying my baggage.

Our road lay over a mountain ridge about 4,000 feet above the

sea, and then descended about 500 feet to the little village of

Rur˙kan, the highest in the district of Minahasa, and probably in

all Celebes. Here I had determined to stay for some time to see

whether this elevation would produce any change in the zoology.

The village had only been formed about ten years, and was quite

as neat as those I had passed through, and much more picturesque.

It is placed on a small level spot, from which there is an abrupt

wooded descent down to the beautiful lake of Tondano, with

volcanic mountains beyond. On one side is a ravine, and beyond it

a fine mountainous and wooded country.

Near the village are the coffee plantations. The trees are

planted in rows, and are kept topped to about seven feet high.

This causes the lateral branches to grow very strong, so that

some of the trees become perfect hemispheres, loaded with fruit

from top to bottom, and producing from ten to twenty pounds each

of cleaned coffee annually. These plantations were all formed by

the Government, and are cultivated by the villagers under the

direction of their chief. Certain days are appointed for weeding

or gathering, and the whole working population are summoned by the

sound of a gong. An account is kept of the number of hours' work

done by each family, and at the year's end, the produce of the

sale is divided among them proportionately. The coffee is taken

to Government stores established at central places over the whole

country, and is paid for at a low fixed price. Out of this a

certain percentage goes to the chiefs and majors, and the

remainder is divided among the inhabitants. This system works

very well, and I believe is at present far better for the people

than free-trade would be. There are also large rice-fields, and

in this little village of seventy houses, I was informed that a

hundred pounds' worth of rice was sold annually.

I had a small house at the very end of the village, almost

hanging over the precipitous slope down to the stream, and with a

splendid view from the verandah. The thermometer in the morning

often stood at 62░ and never rose so high as 80░, so that with

the thin clothing used in the tropical plains we were always cool

and sometimes positively cold, while the spout of water where I

went daily for my bath had quite an icy feel. Although I enjoyed

myself very much among these fine mountains and forests, I was

somewhat disappointed as to my collections. There was hardly any

perceptible difference between the animal life in this temperate

region and in the torrid plains below, and what difference did

exist was in most respects disadvantageous to me. There seemed to

be nothing absolutely peculiar to this elevation. Birds and

quadrupeds were less plentiful, but of the same species. In

insects there seemed to be more difference. The curious beetles

of the family Cleridae, which are found chiefly on bark and

rotten wood, were finer than I have seen them elsewhere. The

beautiful Longicorns were scarcer than usual, and the few

butterflies were all of tropical species. One of these, Papilio

blumei, of which I obtained a few specimens only, is among the

most magnificent I have ever seen. It is a green and gold

swallow-tail, with azure-blue and spoon-shaped tails, and was often

seen flying about the village when the sun shone, but in a very

shattered condition. The great amount of wet and cloudy weather

was a great drawback all the time I was at Rurukan.

Even in the vegetation there is very little to indicate

elevation. The trees are more covered with lichens and mosses,

and the ferns and tree-ferns are finer and more luxuriant than I

had been accustomed to seeing on the low grounds, both probably

attributable to the almost perpetual moisture that here prevails.

Abundance of a tasteless raspberry, with blue and yellow

composite, have somewhat of a temperate aspect; and minute ferns

and Orchideae, with dwarf Begonias on the rocks, make some

approach to a sub-alpine vegetation. The forest, however, is most

luxuriant. Noble palms, Pandani, and tree-ferns are abundant in

it, while the forest trees are completely festooned with

Orchideae, Bromeliae, Araceae, Lycopodiums, and mosses. The

ordinary stemless ferns abound; some with gigantic fronds ten or

twelve feet long, others barely an inch high; some with entire

and massive leaves, others elegantly waving their finely-cut

foliage, and adding endless variety and interest to the forest

paths. The cocoa-nut palm still produces fruit abundantly, but is

said to be deficient in oil. Oranges thrive better than below,

producing abundance of delicious fruit; but the shaddock or

pumplemous (Citrus decumana) requires the full force of a

tropical sun, for it will not thrive even at Tondano a thousand

feet lower. On the hilly slopes rice is cultivated largely, and

ripens well, although the temperature rarely or never rises to

80░, so that one would think it might be grown even in England in

fine summers, especially if the young plants were raised under


The mountains have an unusual quantity of earth and vegetable

mould spread over them. Even on the steepest slopes there is

everywhere a covering of clays and sands, and generally a good

thickness of vegetable soil. It is this which perhaps contributes

to the uniform luxuriance of the forest, and delays the

appearance of that sub-alpine vegetation which depends almost as

much on the abundance of rocky and exposed surfaces as on

difference of climate. At a much lower elevation on Mount Ophir

in Malacca, Dacrydiums and Rhododendrons with abundance of

Nepenthes, ferns, and terrestrial orchids suddenly took the place

of the lofty forest; but this was plainly due to the occurrence

of an extensive slope of bare, granitic rock at an elevation of

less than 3,000 feet. The quantity of vegetable soil, and also of

loose sands and clays, resting on steep slopes, hill-tops and the

sides of ravines, is a curious and important phenomenon. It may

be due in part to constant, slight earthquake shocks facilitating

the disintegration of rock; but, would also seem to indicate that

the country has been long exposed to gentle atmospheric action,

and that its elevation has been exceedingly slow and continuous.

During my stay at Rurukan, my curiosity was satisfied by

experiencing a pretty sharp earthquake-shock. On the evening of

June 29th, at a quarter after eight, as I was sitting reading,

the house began shaking with a very gentle, but rapidly

increasing motion. I sat still enjoying the novel sensation for

some seconds; but in less than half a minute it became strong

enough to shake me in my chair, and to make the house visibly

rock about, and creak and crack as if it would fall to pieces.

Then began a cry throughout the village of "Tana goyang! tana

goyang! "(Earthquake! earthquake!) Everybody rushed out of their

houses--women screamed and children cried--and I thought it

prudent to go out too. On getting up, I found my head giddy and

my steps unsteady, and could hardly walk without falling. The

shock continued about a minute, during which time I felt as if I

had been turned round and round, and was almost seasick. Going

into the house again, I found a lamp and a bottle of arrack

upset. The tumbler which formed the lamp had been thrown out of

the saucer in which it had stood. The shock appeared to be nearly

vertical, rapid, vibratory, and jerking. It was sufficient, I

have no doubt, to have thrown down brick, chimneys, walls, and

church towers; but as the houses here are all low, and strongly

framed of timber, it is impossible for them to be much injured,

except by a shock that would utterly destroy a European city. The

people told me it was ten years since they had had a stronger

shock than this, at which time many houses were thrown down and

some people killed.

At intervals of ten minutes to half an hour, slight shocks and

tremors were felt, sometimes strong enough to send us all out

again. There was a strange mixture of the terrible and the

ludicrous in our situation. We might at any moment have a much

stronger shock, which would bring down the house over us, or--

what I feared more--cause a landslip, and send us down into the

deep ravine on the very edge of which the village is built; yet I

could not help laughing each time we ran out at a slight shock,

and then in a few moments ran in again. The sublime and the

ridiculous were here literally but a step apart. On the one hand,

the most terrible and destructive of natural phenomena was in

action around us--the rocks, the mountains, the solid earth were

trembling and convulsed, and we were utterly impotent to guard

against the danger that might at any moment overwhelm us. On the

other hand was the spectacle of a number of men, women, and

children running in and out of their houses, on what each time

proved a very unnecessary alarm, as each shock ceased just as it

became strong enough to frighten us. It seemed really very much

like "playing at earthquakes," and made many of the people join

me in a hearty laugh, even while reminding each other that it

really might be no laughing matter.

At length the evening got very cold, and I became very sleepy,

and determined to turn in; leaving orders to my boys, who slept

nearer the door, to wake me in case the house was in danger of

falling. But I miscalculated my apathy, for I could not sleep

much. The shocks continued at intervals of half an hour or an

hour all night, just strong enough to wake me thoroughly each

time and keep me on the alert, ready to jump up in case of danger.

I was therefore very glad when morning came. Most of the

inhabitants had not been to bed at all, and some had stayed out

of doors all night. For the next two days and nights shocks still

continued at short intervals, and several times a day for a week,

showing that there was some very extensive disturbance beneath

our portion of the earth's crust. How vast the forces at work

really are can only be properly appreciated when, after feeling

their effects, we look abroad over the wide expanse of hill and

valley, plain and mountain, and thus realize in a slight degree

the immense mass of matter heaved and shaken. The sensation

produced by an earthquake is never to be forgotten. We feel

ourselves in the grasp of a power to which the wildest fury of

the winds and waves are as nothing; yet the effect is more a

thrill of awe than the terror which the more boisterous war of

the elements produces. There is a mystery and an uncertainty as

to the amount of danger we incur, which gives greater play to the

imagination, and to the influences of hope and fear. These

remarks apply only to a moderate earthquake. A severe one is the

most destructive and the most horrible catastrophe to which human

beings can be exposed.

A few days after the earthquake I took a walk to Tondano, a large

village of about 7,000 inhabitants, situated at the lower end of

the lake of the same name. I dined with the Controlleur, Mr.

Bensneider, who had been my guide to Tomohon. He had a fine large

house, in which he often received visitors; and his garden was

the best for flowers which I had seen in the tropics, although

there was no great variety. It was he who introduced the rose

hedges which give such a charming appearance to the villages; and

to him is chiefly due the general neatness and good order that

everywhere prevail. I consulted him about a fresh locality, as I

found Rur˙kan too much in the clouds, dreadfully damp and gloomy,

and with a general stagnation of bird and insect life. He

recommended me a village some distance beyond the lake, near

which was a large forest, where he thought I should find plenty

of birds. As he was going himself in a few days, I decided to

accompany him.

After dinner I asked him for a guide to the celebrated waterfall

on the outlet stream of the lake. It is situated about a mile and

half below the village, where a slight rising ground closes in

the basin, and evidently once formed, the shore of the lake. Here

the river enters a gorge, very narrow and tortuous, along which it

rushes furiously for a short distance and then plunges into a

great chasm, forming the head of a large valley. Just above the

fall the channel is not more than ten feet wide, and here a few

planks are thrown across, whence, half hid by luxuriant

vegetation, the mad waters may be seen rushing beneath, and a few

feet farther plunge into the abyss. Both sight and sound are

grand and impressive. It was here that, four years before my

visit, the Governor-General of the Netherland Indies committed

suicide, by leaping into the torrent. This at least is the

general opinion, as he suffered from a painful disease which was

supposed to have made him weary of his life. His body was found

next day in the stream below.

Unfortunately, no good view of the fall could now be obtained,

owing to the quantity of wood and high grass that lined the

margins of the precipices. There are two falls, the lower being

the most lofty; and it is possible, by long circuit, to descend

into the valley and see them from below. Were the best points of

view searched for and rendered accessible, these falls would

probably be found to be the finest in the Archipelago. The chasm

seems to be of great depth, probably 500 or 600 feet. Unfortunately,

I had no time to explore this valley, as I was anxious to devote

every fine day to increasing my hitherto scanty collections.

Just opposite my abode in Rurukan was the schoolhouse. The

schoolmaster was a native, educated by the Missionary at Tomohˇn.

School was held every morning for about three hours, and twice a

week in the evening there was catechising and preaching. There

was also a service on Sunday morning. The children were all

taught in Malay, and I often heard them repeating the

multiplication-table, up to twenty times twenty, very glibly. They

always wound up with singing, and it was very pleasing to hear

many of our old psalm-tunes in these remote mountains, sung with

Malay words. Singing is one of the real blessings which

Missionaries introduce among savage nations, whose native chants

are almost always monotonous and melancholy.

On catechising evenings the schoolmaster was a great man,

preaching and teaching for three hours at a stretch much in the

style of an English ranter. This was pretty cold work for his

auditors, however warming to himself; and I am inclined to think

that these native teachers, having acquired facility of speaking

and an endless supply of religious platitudes to talk about, ride

their hobby rather hard, without much consideration for their

flock. The Missionaries, however, have much to be proud of in

this country. They have assisted the Government in changing a

savage into a civilized community in a wonderfully short space of

time. Forty years ago the country was a wilderness, the people

naked savages, garnishing their rude houses with human heads. Now

it is a garden, worthy of its sweet native name of "Minahasa."

Good roads and paths traverse it in every direction; some of the

finest coffee plantations in the world surround the villages,

interspersed with extensive rice-fields more than sufficient for

the support of the population.

The people are now the most industrious, peaceable, and civilized

in the whole Archipelago. They are the best clothed, the best

housed, the best fed, and the best educated; and they have made

some progress towards a higher social state. I believe there is

no example elsewhere of such striking results being produced in

so short a time--results which are entirely due to the system of

government now adopted by the Dutch in their Eastern possessions.

The system is one which may be called a "paternal despotism." Now

we Englishmen do not like despotism--we hate the name and the

thing, and we would rather see people ignorant, lazy, and

vicious, than use any but moral force to make them wise,

industrious, and good. And we are right when we are dealing with

men of our own race, and of similar ideas and equal capacities

with ourselves. Example and precept, the force of public opinion,

and the slow, but sure spread of education, will do every thing

in time, without engendering any of those bitter feelings, or

producing any of that servility, hypocrisy, and dependence, which

are the sure results of despotic government. But what should we

think of a man who should advocate these principles of perfect

freedom in a family or a school? We should say that he was

applying a good, general principle to a case in which the

conditions rendered it inapplicable--the case in which the

governed are in an admitted state of mental inferiority to those

who govern them, and are unable to decide what is best for their

permanent welfare. Children must be subjected to some degree of

authority, and guidance; and if properly managed they will

cheerfully submit to it, because they know their own inferiority,

and believe their elders are acting solely for their good. They

learn many things the use of which they cannot comprehend, and

which they would never learn without some moral and social, if not

physical, pressure. Habits of order, of industry, of cleanliness,

of respect and obedience, are inculcated by similar means.

Children would never grow up into well-behaved and well-educated

men, if the same absolute freedom of action that is allowed to

men were allowed to them. Ruder the best aspect of education,

children are subjected to a mild despotism for the good of

themselves and of society; and their confidence in the wisdom and

goodness of those who ordain and apply this despotism,

neutralizes the bad passions and degrading feelings, which under

less favourable conditions are its general results.

Now, there is not merely an analogy--there is in many respects

an identity of relation between master and pupil or parent and

child on the one hand, and an uncivilized race and its civilized

rulers on the other. We know (or think we know) that the

education and industry, and the common usages of civilized man,

are superior to those of savage life; and, as he becomes

acquainted with them, the savage himself admits this. He admires

the superior acquirements of the civilized man, and it is with

pride that he will adopt such usages as do not interfere too

much with his sloth, his passions, or his prejudices. But as the

willful child or the idle schoolboy, who was never taught

obedience, and never made to do anything which of his own free

will he was not inclined to do, would in most cases obtain

neither education nor manners; so it is much more unlikely that

the savage, with all the confirmed habits of manhood and the

traditional prejudices of race, should ever do more than copy a

few of the least beneficial customs of civilization, without some

stronger stimulus than precept, very imperfectly backed by


If we are satisfied that we are right in assuming the government

over a savage race, and occupying their country, and if we

further consider it our duty to do what we can to improve our

rude subjects and raise them up towards our own level, we must

not be too much afraid of the cry of "despotism" and "slavery,"

but must use the authority we possess to induce them to do work

which they may not altogether like, but which we know to be an

indispensable step in their moral and physical advancement. The

Dutch have shown much good policy in the means by which they have

done this. They have in most cases upheld and strengthened the

authority of the native chiefs, to whom the people have been

accustomed to render a voluntary obedience; and by acting on the

intelligence and self-interest of these chiefs, have brought

about changes in the manners and customs of the people, which

would have excited ill-feeling and perhaps revolt, had they been

directly enforced by foreigners.

In carrying out such a system, much depends upon the character

of the people; and the system which succeeds admirably in one

place could only be very partially worked out in another. In

Minahasa the natural docility and intelligence of the race have

made their progress rapid; and how important this is, is well

illustrated by the fact, that in the immediate vicinity of the

town of Menado are a tribe called Banteks, of a much less

tractable disposition, who have hitherto resisted all efforts of

the Dutch Government to induce them to adopt any systematic

cultivation. These remain in a ruder condition, but engage

themselves willingly as occasional porters and labourers, for

which their greater strength and activity well adapt them.

No doubt the system here sketched seems open to serious

objection. It is to a certain extent despotic, and interferes

with free trade, free labour, and free communication. A native

cannot leave his village without a pass, and cannot engage

himself to any merchant or captain without a Government permit.

The coffee has all to be sold to Government, at less than half

the price that the local merchant would give for it, and he

consequently cries out loudly against "monopoly" and "oppression."

He forgets, how ever, that the coffee plantations were established

by the Government at great outlay of capital and skill; that it

gives free education to the people, and that the monopoly is in lieu

of taxation. He forgets that the product he wants to purchase and

make a profit by, is the creation of the Government, without whom

the people would still be savages. He knows very well that free

trade would, as its first result, lead to the importation of whole

cargoes of arrack, which would be carried over the country and

exchanged for coffee. That drunkenness and poverty would spread over

the land; that the public coffee plantations would not be kept up;

that the quality and quantity of the coffee would soon deteriorate;

that traders and merchants would get rich, but that the people would

relapse into poverty and barbarism. That such is invariably is the

result of free trade with any savage tribes who possess a valuable

product, native or cultivated, is well known to those who have

visited such people; but we might even anticipate from general

principles that evil results would happen.

If there is one thing rather than another to which the grand law

of continuity or development will apply, it is to human progress.

There are certain stages through which society must pass in its

onward march from barbarism to civilization. Now one of these stages

has always been some form or other of despotism, such as feudalism

or servitude, or a despotic paternal government; and we have every

reason to believe that it is not possible for humanity to leap

over this transition epoch, and pass at once from pure savagery

to free civilization. The Dutch system attempts to supply this

missing link, and to bring the people on by gradual steps to that

higher civilization, which we (the English) try to force upon

them at once. Our system has always failed. We demoralize and we

extirpate, but we never really civilize. Whether the Dutch system

can permanently succeed is but doubtful, since it may not be

possible to compress the work of ten centuries into one; but at

all events it takes nature as a guide, and is therefore, more

deserving of success, and more likely to succeed, than ours.

There is one point connected with this question which I think the

Missionaries might take up with great physical and moral results.

In this beautiful and healthy country, and with abundance of food

and necessaries, the population does not increase as it ought to

do. I can only impute this to one cause. Infant mortality,

produced by neglect while the mothers are working in the

plantations, and by general ignorance of the conditions of health

in infants. Women all work, as they have always been accustomed

to do. It is no hardship to them, but I believe is often a

pleasure and relaxation. They either take their infants with

them, in which case they leave them in some shady spot on the

ground, going at intervals to give them nourishment, or they

leave them at home in the care of other children too young to

work. Under neither of these circumstances can infants be

properly attended to, and great mortality is the result, keeping

the increase of population far below the rate which the

general prosperity of the country and the universality of

marriage would lead us to expect. This is a matter in which the

Government is directly interested, since it is by the increase of

the population alone that there can be any large and permanent

increase in the production of coffee. The Missionaries should take

up the question because, by inducing married women to confine

themselves to domestic duties, they will decidedly promote a

higher civilization, and directly increase the health and

happiness of the whole community. The people are so docile and

so willing to adopt the manners and customs of Europeans, that

the change might be easily effected by merely showing them that

it was a question of morality and civilization, and an essential

step in their progress towards an equality with their white


After a fortnight's stay at Rur˙kan, I left that pretty and

interesting village in search of a locality and climate more

productive of birds and insects. I passed the evening with the

Controlleur of Tondano, and the next morning at nine, left in a

small boat for the head of the lake, a distance of about ten

miles. The lower end of the lake is bordered by swamps and

marshes of considerable extent, but a little further on, the hills

come down to the water's edge and give it very much the

appearance of a greet river, the width being about two miles.

At the upper end is the village of Kakas, where I dined with the

head man in a good house like those I have already described;

and then went on to Langˇwan, four miles distant over a level

plain. This was the place where I had been recommended to stay,

and I accordingly unpacked my baggage and made myself comfortable

in the large house devoted to visitors. I obtained a man to shoot

for me, and another to accompany me the next day to the forest,

where I was in hopes of finding a good collecting ground.

In the morning after breakfast I started off, but found I had

four miles to walk over a wearisome straight road through coffee

plantations before I could get to the forest, and as soon as I

did so ,it came on to rain heavily and did not cease until night.

This distance to walk everyday was too far for any profitable

work, especially when the weather was so uncertain. I therefore

decided at once that I must go further on, until I found someplace

close to or in a forest country. In the afternoon my friend

Mr. Bensneider arrived, together with the Controlleur of the next

district, called Belang, from whom I learned that six miles

further on there was a village called Panghu, which had been

recently formed and had a good deal of forest close to it; and

he promised me the use of a small house if I liked to go there.

The next morning I went to see the hot-springs and mud volcanoes,

for which this place is celebrated. A picturesque path among

plantations and ravines brought us to a beautiful circular basin

about forty feet in diameter, bordered by a calcareous ledge, so

uniform and truly curved, that it looked like a work of art. It

was filled with clear water very near the boiling point, and

emitted clouds of steam with a strong sulphureous odour. It

overflows at one point and forms a little stream of hot water,

which at a hundred yards' distance is still too hot to hold the

hand in. A little further on, in a piece of rough wood, were two

other springs not so regular in outline, but appearing to be much

hotter, as they were in a continual state of active ebullition.

At intervals of a few minutes, a great escape of steam or gas took

place, throwing up a column of water three or four feet high.

We then went to the mud-springs, which are about a mile off, and

are still more curious. On a sloping tract of ground in a slight

hollow is a small lake of liquid mud, with patches of blue, red, or

white, and in many places boiling and bubbling most furiously.

All around on the indurated clay are small wells and craters

full of boiling mud. These seem to be forming continually, a

small hole appearing first, which emits jets of steam and boiling

mud, which upon hardening, forms a little cone with a crater in

the middle. The ground for some distance is very unsafe, as it

is evidently liquid at a small depth, and bends with pressure

like thin ice. At one of the smaller, marginal jets which I

managed to approach, I held my hand to see if it was really as

hot as it looked, when a little drop of mud that spurted on to my

finger scalded like boiling water.

A short distance off, there was a flat bare surface of rock as

smooth and hot as an oven floor, which was evidently an old mud-pool,

dried up and hardened. For hundreds of yards around where

there were banks of reddish and white clay used for whitewash, it

was still so hot close to the surface that the hand could hardly

bear to be held in cracks a few inches deep, and from which arose

a strong sulphureous vapour. I was informed that some years back

a French gentleman who visited these springs ventured too near

the liquid mud, when the crust gave way and he was engulfed in

the horrible caldron.

This evidence of intense heat so near the surface over a large

tract of country was very impressive, and I could hardly divest

myself of the notion that some terrible catastrophe might at any

moment devastate the country. Yet it is probable that all these

apertures are really safety-valves, and that the inequalities of

the resistance of various parts of the earth's crust will always

prevent such an accumulation of force as would be required to

upheave and overwhelm any extensive area. About seven miles west

of this is a volcano which was in eruption about thirty years

before my visit, presenting a magnificent appearance and covering

the surrounding country with showers of ashes. The plains around

the lake formed by the intermingling and decomposition of

volcanic products are of amazing fertility, and with a little

management in the rotation of crops might be kept in continual

cultivation. Rice is now grown on them for three or four years in

succession, when they are left fallow for the same period, after

which rice or maize can be again grown. Good rice produces

thirty-fold, and coffee trees continue bearing abundantly for ten

or fifteen years, without any manure and with scarcely any


I was delayed a day by incessant rain, and then proceeded to

Panghu, which I reached just before the daily rain began at 11

A.M. After leaving the summit level of the lake basin, the road

is carried along the slope of a fine forest ravine. The descent

is a long one, so that I estimated the village to be not more

than 1,500 feet above the sea, yet I found the morning

temperature often 69░, the same as at Tondano at least 600 or 700

feet higher. I was pleased with the appearance of the place,

which had a good deal of forest and wild country around it; and

found prepared for me a little house consisting only of a

verandah and a back room. This was only intended for visitors to

rest in, or to pass a night, but it suited me very well. I was so

unfortunate, however, as to lose both my hunters just at this

time. One had been left at Tondano with fever and diarrhoea, and

the other was attacked at Langˇwan with inflammation of the

chest, and as his case looked rather bad I had him sent back to

Menado. The people here were all so busy with their rice-harvest,

which was important for them to finish owing to the early rains,

that I could get no one to shoot for me.

During the three weeks that I stayed at Panghu it rained nearly

everyday, either in the afternoon only, or all day long; but

there were generally a few hours' sunshine in the morning, and I

took advantage of these to explore the roads and paths, the rocks

and ravines, in search of insects. These were not very abundant,

yet I saw enough to convince me that the locality was a good one,

had I been there at the beginning instead of at the end of the

dry season. The natives brought me daily a few insects obtained

at the Sagueir palms, including some fine Cetonias and stag-

beetles. Two little boys were very expert with the blowpipe, and

brought me a good many small birds, which they shot with pellets

of clay. Among these was a pretty little flower-pecker of a new

species (Prionochilus aureolimbatus), and several of the

loveliest honeysuckers I had yet seen. My general collection of

birds was, however, almost at a standstill; for though I at

length obtained a man to shoot for me, he was not good for much,

and seldom brought me more than one bird a day. The best thing he

shot was the large and rare fruit-pigeon peculiar to Northern

Celebes (Carpophaga forsteni), which I had long been seeking.

I was myself very successful in one beautiful group of insects,

the tiger-beetles, which seem more abundant and varied here than

anywhere else in the Archipelago. I first met with them on a

cutting in the road, where a hard clayey bank was partially

overgrown with mosses and small ferns. Here, I found running

about, a small olive-green species which never took flight; and

more rarely, a fine purplish black wingless insect, which was

always found motionless in crevices, and was therefore, probably

nocturnal. It appeared to me to form a new genus. About the roads

in the forest, I found the large and handsome Cicindela heros,

which I had before obtained sparingly at Macassar; but it was in

the mountain torrent of the ravine itself that I got my finest

things. 0n dead trunks overhanging the water and on the banks and

foliage, I obtained three very pretty species of Cicindela, quite

distinct in size, form, and colour, but having an almost

identical pattern of pale spots. I also found a single specimen

of a most curious species with very long antennae. But my finest

discovery here was the Cicindela gloriosa, which I found on mossy

stones just rising above the water. After obtaining my first

specimen of this elegant insect, I used to walk up the stream,

watching carefully every moss-covered rock and stone. It was

rather shy, and would often lead me on a long chase from stone to

stone, becoming invisible every time it settled on the damp moss,

owing to its rich velvety green colour. On some days I could

only catch a few glimpses of it; on others I got a single

specimen; and on a few occasions two, but never without a more or

less active pursuit. This and several other species I never saw

but in this one ravine.

Among the people here I saw specimens of several types, which,

with the peculiarities of the languages, gives me some notion of

their probable origin. A striking illustration of the low state

of civilization of these people, until quite recently, is to be

found in the great diversity of their languages. Villages three

or four miles apart have separate dialects, and each group of

three or four such villages has a distinct language quite

unintelligible to all the rest; so that, until the recent

introduction of Malay by the Missionaries, there must have been a

bar to all free communication. These languages offer many

peculiarities. They contain a Celebes-Malay element and a Papuan

element, along with some radical peculiarities found also in the

languages of the Siau and Sanguir islands further north, and

therefore, probably derived from the Philippine Islands. Physical

characteristics correspond. There are some of the less civilized

tribes which have semi-Papuan features and hair, while in some

villages the true Celebes or Bugis physiognomy prevails. The

plateau of Tondano is chiefly inhabited by people nearly as white

as the Chinese, and with very pleasing semi-European features.

The people of Siau and Sanguir much resemble these, and I believe

them to be perhaps immigrants from some of the islands of North

Polynesia. The Papuan type will represent the remnant of the

aborigines, while those of the Bugis character show the extension

northward of the superior Malay races.

As I was wasting valuable time at Panghu, owing to the bad weather

and the illness of my hunters, I returned to Menado after a stay

of three weeks. Here I had a little touch of fever, and what with

drying and packing all of my collections and getting fresh

servants, it was a fortnight before I was again ready to start. I

now went eastward over an undulating country skirting the great

volcano of Klabat, to a village called Lempias, situated close to

the extensive forest that covers the lower slopes of that

mountain. My baggage was carried from village to village by

relays of men; and as each change involved some delay, I did not

reach my destination (a distance of eighteen miles) until sunset.

I was wet through, and had to wait for an hour in an uncomfortable

state until the first installment of my baggage arrived, which

luckily contained my clothes, while the rest did not come in until


This being the district inhabited by that singular annual the

Babirusa (Hog-deer), I inquired about skulls and soon obtained

several in tolerable condition, as well as a fine one of the rare

and curious "Sapiutan" (Anoa depressicornis. Of this animal I had

seen two living specimens at Menado, and was surprised at their

great resemblance to small cattle, or still more to the Eland of

South Africa. Their Malay name signifies "forest ox," and they

differ from very small highbred oxen principally by the low-

hanging dewlap, and straight, pointed horns which slope back over

the neck. I did not find the forest here so rich in insects as I

had expected, and my hunters got me very few birds, but what they

did obtain were very interesting. Among these were the rare

forest Kingfisher (Cittura cyanotis), a small new species of

Megapodius, and one specimen of the large and interesting Maleo

(Megacephalon rubripes), to obtain which was one of my chief

reasons for visiting this district. Getting no more, however,

after ten days' search, I removed to Licoupang, at the extremity

of the peninsula, a place celebrated for these birds, as well as

for the Babirusa and Sapiutan. I found here Mr. Goldmann, the

eldest son of the Governor of the Moluccas, who was

superintending the establishment of some Government salt-works.

This was a better locality, and I obtained some fine butterflies

and very good birds, among which was one more specimen of the

rare ground dove (Phlegaenas tristigmata), which I had first

obtained near the Maros waterfall in South Celebes.

Hearing what I was particularly in search of, Mr. Goldmann kindly

offered to make a hunting-party to the place where the "Maleos"

are most abundant, a remote and uninhabited sea-beach about

twenty miles distant. The climate here was quite different from

that on the mountains; not a drop of rain having fallen for four

months; so I made arrangements to stay on the beach a week, in

order to secure a good number of specimens. We went partly by

boat and partly through the forest, accompanied by the Major or

head-man of Licoupang, with a dozen natives and about twenty

dogs. On the way they caught a young Sapi-utan and five wild

pigs. Of the former I preserved the head. This animal is entirely

confined to the remote mountain forests of Celebes and one or two

adjacent islands which form part of the same group. In the adults

the head is black, with a white mark over each eye, one on each

cheek and another on the throat. The horns are very smooth and

sharp when young, but become thicker and ridged at the bottom

with age. Most naturalists consider this curious animal to be a

small ox, but from the character of the horns, the fine coat of

hair and the descending dewlap, it seemed closely to approach the


Arrived at our destination, we built a but and prepared for a stay

of some days--I to shoot and skin "Maleos", and Mr. Goldmann and

the Major to hunt wild pigs, Babirusa, and Sapi-utan. The place is

situated in the large bay between the islands of Limbe and Banca,

and consists of steep beach more than a mile in length, of deep

loose and coarse black volcanic sand (or rather gravel), very

fatiguing to walk over. It is bounded at each extremity by a

small river with hilly ground beyond, while the forest behind

the beach itself is tolerably level and its growth stunted. We

probably have here an ancient lava stream from the Klabat

volcano, which has flowed down a valley into the sea, and the

decomposition of which has formed the loose black sand. In

confirmation of this view, it may be mentioned that the beaches

beyond the small rivers in both directions are of white sand.

It is in this loose, hot, black sand that those singular birds,

the "Maleos" deposit their eggs. In the months of August and

September, when there is little or no rain, they come down in

pairs from the interior to this or to one or two other favourite

spots, and scratch holes three or four feet deep, just above

high-water mark, where the female deposits a single large egg,

which she covers over with about a foot of sand--and then returns

to the forest. At the end of ten or twelve days she comes again

to the same spot to lay another egg, and each female bird is

supposed to lay six or eight eggs during the season. The male

assists the female in making the hole, coming down and returning

with her. The appearance of the bird when walking on the beach is

very handsome. The glossy black and rosy white of the plumage,

the helmeted head and elevated tail, like that of the common

fowl, give a striking character, which their stately and somewhat

sedate walk renders still more remarkable. There is hardly any

difference between the sexes, except that the casque or bonnet at

the back of the head and the tubercles at the nostrils are a

little larger, and the beautiful rosy salmon colour a little

deeper in the male bird; but the difference is so slight that it

is not always possible to tell a male from a female without

dissection. They run quickly, but when shot at or suddenly

disturbed, take wing with a heavy noisy flight to some neighbouring

tree, where they settle on a low branch; and, they probably roost

at night in a similar situation. Many birds lay in the same hole,

for a dozen eggs are often found together; and these are so large

that it is not possible for the body of the bird to contain more

than one fully-developed egg at the same time. In all the female

birds which I shot, none of the eggs besides the one large one

exceeded the size of peas, and there were only eight or nine of

these, which is probably the extreme number a bird can lay in one


Every year the natives come for fifty miles round to obtain these

eggs, which are esteemed as a great delicacy, and when quite fresh,

are indeed delicious. They are richer than hens' eggs and of a

finer favour, and each one completely fills an ordinary teacup,

and forms with bread or rice a very good meal. The colour of the

shell is a pale brick red, or very rarely pure white. They are

elongate and very slightly smaller at one end, from four to four

and a half inches long by two and a quarter or two and a half


After the eggs are deposited in the sand, they are no further

cared for by the mother. The young birds, upon breaking the shell,

work their way up through the sand and run off at once to the

forest; and I was assured by Mr. Duivenboden of Ternate, that

they can fly the very day they are hatched. He had taken some

eggs on board his schooner which hatched during the night, and in

the morning the little birds flew readily across the cabin.

Considering the great distances the birds come to deposit the

eggs in a proper situation (often ten or fifteen miles) it seems

extraordinary that they should take no further care of them. It

is, however, quite certain that they neither do nor can watch

them. The eggs being deposited by a number of hens in succession

in the same hole, would render it impossible for each to

distinguish its own; and the food necessary for such large birds

(consisting entirely of fallen fruits) can only be obtained by

roaming over an extensive district, so that if the numbers of

birds which come down to this single beach in the breeding

season, amounting to many hundreds, were obliged to remain in the

vicinity, many would perish of hunger.

In the structure of the feet of this bird, we may detect a cause

for its departing from the habits of its nearest allies, the

Megapodii and Talegalli, which heap up earth, leaves, stones, and

sticks into a huge mound, in which they bury their eggs. The feet

of the Maleo are not nearly so large or strong in proportion as

in these birds, while its claws are short and straight instead of

being long and much curved. The toes are, however, strongly

webbed at the base, forming a broad powerful foot, which, with

the rather long leg, is well adapted to scratch away the loose

sand (which flies up in a perfect shower when the birds are at

work), but which could not without much labour accumulate the

heaps of miscellaneous rubbish, which the large grasping feet of

the Megapodius bring together with ease.

We may also, I think, see in the peculiar organization of the

entire family of the Megapodidae or Brush Turkeys, a reason why

they depart so widely from the usual habits of the Class of

birds. Each egg being so large as entirely to fill up the

abdominal cavity and with difficulty pass the walls of the

pelvis, a considerable interval is required before the successive

eggs can be matured (the natives say about thirteen days). Each

bird lays six or eight eggs or even more each season, so that

between the first and last there may be an interval of two or

three months. Now, if these eggs were hatched in the ordinary

way, either the parents must keep sitting continually for this

long period, or if they only began to sit after the last egg

was deposited, the first would be exposed to injury by the

climate, or to destruction by the large lizards, snakes, or other

animals which abound in the district; because such large birds

must roam about a good deal in search of food. Here then we seem

to have a case in which the habits of a bird may be directly

traced to its exceptional organization; for it will hardly be

maintained that this abnormal structure and peculiar food were

given to the Megapodidae in order that they might not exhibit

that parental affection, or possess those domestic instincts so

general in the Class of birds, and which so much excite our admiration.

It has generally been the custom of writers on Natural History

to take the habits and instincts of animals as fixed points, and

to consider their structure and organization, as specially adapted,

to be in accordance with these. This assumption is however an

arbitrary one, and has the bad effect of stifling inquiry into

the nature and causes of "instincts and habits," treating them as

directly due to a "first cause," and therefore, incomprehensible

to us. I believe that a careful consideration of the structure of

a species, and of the peculiar physical and organic conditions by

which it is surrounded, or has been surrounded in past ages, will

often, as in this case, throw much light on the origin of its

habits and instincts. These again, combined with changes in

external conditions, react upon structure, and by means of

"variation" and "natural selection", both are kept in harmony.

My friends remained three days, and got plenty of wild pigs and

two Anoas, but the latter were much injured by the dogs, and I

could only preserve the heads. A grand hunt which we attempted on

the third day failed, owing to bad management in driving in the

game, and we waited for five hours perched on platforms in trees

without getting a shot, although we had been assured that pigs,

Babirusas, and Anˇas would rush past us in dozens. I myself, with

two men, stayed three days longer to get more specimens of the

Maleos, and succeeded in preserving twenty-six very fine ones--

the flesh and eggs of which supplied us with abundance of good


The Major sent a boat, as he had promised, to take home my

baggage, while I walked through the forest with my two boys and a

guide, about fourteen miles. For the first half of the distance

there was no path, and we had often to cut our way through

tangled rattans or thickets of bamboo. In some of our turnings to

find the most practicable route, I expressed my fear that we were

losing our way, as the sun being vertical, I could see no possible

clue to the right direction. My conductors, however, laughed at

the idea, which they seemed to consider quite ludicrous; and sure

enough, about half way, we suddenly encountered a little hut

where people from Licoupang came to hunt and smoke wild pigs. My

guide told me he had never before traversed the forest between

these two points; and this is what is considered by some

travellers as one of the savage "instincts," whereas it is merely

the result of wide general knowledge. The man knew the topography

of the whole district; the slope of the land, the direction of

the streams, the belts of bamboo or rattan, and many other

indications of locality and direction; and he was thus enabled to

hit straight upon the hut, in the vicinity of which he had often

hunted. In a forest of which he knew nothing, he would be quite

as much at a loss as a European. Thus it is, I am convinced, with

all the wonderful accounts of Indians finding their way through

trackless forests to definite points; they may never have passed

straight between the two particular points before, but they are

well acquainted with the vicinity of both, and have such a

general knowledge of the whole country, its water system, its

soil and its vegetation, that as they approach the point they are

to reach, many easily-recognised indications enable them to hit

upon it with certainty.

The chief feature of this forest was the abundance of rattan

palms hanging from the trees, and turning and twisting about on

the ground, often in inextricable confusion. One wonders at first

how they can get into such queer shapes; but it is evidently

caused by the decay and fall of the trees up which they have

first climbed, after which they grow along the ground until they

meet with another trunk up which to ascend. A tangled mass of

twisted living rattan, is therefore, a sign that at some former

period a large tree has fallen there, though there may be not the

slightest vestige of it left. The rattan seems to have unlimited

powers of growth, and a single plant may moult up several trees

in succession, and thus reach the enormous length they are said

sometimes to attain. They much improve the appearance of a forest

as seen from the coast; for they vary the otherwise monotonous

tree-tops with feathery crowns of leaves rising clear above them,

and each terminated by an erect leafy spike like a lightning-


The other most interesting object in the forest was a beautiful

palm, whose perfectly smooth and cylindrical stem rises erect to

more than a hundred feet high, with a thickness of only eight or

ten inches; while the fan-shaped leaves which compose its crown,

are almost complete circles of six or eight feet diameter, borne

aloft on long and slender petioles, and beautifully toothed round

the edge by the extremities of the leaflets, which are separated

only for a few inches from the circumference. It is probably the

Livistona rotundifolia of botanists, and is the most complete and

beautiful fan-leaf I have ever seen, serving admirably for folding

into water-buckets and impromptu baskets, as well as for thatching

and other purposes.

A few days afterwards I returned to Menado on horse-back, sending

my baggage around by sea; and had just time to pack up all my

collections to go by the next mail steamer to Amboyna. I will now

devote a few pages to an account of the chief peculiarities of

the Zoology of Celebes, and its relation to that of the

surrounding countries.



THE position of Celebes is the most central in the Archipelago.

Immediately to the north are the Philippine islands; on the west

is Borneo; on the east are the Molucca islands; and on the south

is the Timor group--and it is on all sides so connected with

these islands by its own satellites, by small islets, and by

coral reefs, that neither by inspection on the map nor by actual

observation around its coast, is it possible to determine

accurately which should be grouped with it, and which with the

surrounding districts. Such being the case, we should naturally

expect to find that the productions of this central island in

some degree represented the richness and variety of the whole

Archipelago, while we should not expect much individuality in a

country, so situated, that it would seem as if it were pre-

eminently fitted to receive stragglers and immigrants from all


As so often happens in nature, however, the fact turns out to be

just the reverse of what we should have expected; and an

examination of its animal productions shows Celebes to be at

once the poorest in the number of its species, and the most

isolated in the character of its productions, of all the great

islands in the Archipelago. With its attendant islets it spreads

over an extent of sea hardly inferior in length and breadth to

that occupied by Borneo, while its actual land area is nearly

double that of Java; yet its Mammalia and terrestrial birds

number scarcely more than half the species found in the last-

named island. Its position is such that it could receive

immigrants from every side more readily than Java, yet in

proportion to the species which inhabit it, far fewer seem derived

from other islands, while far more are altogether peculiar to it;

and a considerable number of its animal forms are so remarkable,

as to find no close allies in any other part of the world. I now

propose to examine the best known groups of Celebesian animals in

some detail, to study their relations to those of other islands,

and to call attention to the many points of interest which they


We know far more of the birds of Celebes than we do of any other

group of animals. No less than 191 species have been discovered,

and though no doubt, many more wading and swimming birds have to

be added; yet the list of land birds, 144 in number, and which

for our present purpose are much the most important, must be very

nearly complete. I myself assiduously collected birds in Celebes

for nearly ten months, and my assistant, Mr. Allen, spent two

months in the Sula islands. The Dutch naturalist Forsten spent

two years in Northern Celebes (twenty years before my visit), and

collections of birds had also been sent to Holland from Macassar.

The French ship of discovery, L'Astrolabe, also touched at Menado

and procured collections. Since my return home, the Dutch

naturalists Rosenberg and Bernstein have made extensive

collections both in North Celebes and in the Sula islands; yet

all their researches combined have only added eight species of

land birds to those forming part of my own collection--a fact

which renders it almost certain that there are very few more to


Besides Salayer and Boutong on the south, with Peling and Bungay

on the east, the three islands of the Sula (or Zula) Archipelago

also belong zoologically to Celebes, although their position is

such that it would seem more natural to group them with the

Moluccas. About 48 land birds are now known from the Sula group,

and if we reject from these, five species which have a wide range

over the Archipelago, the remainder are much more characteristic

of Celebes than of the Moluccas. Thirty-one species are identical

with those of the former island, and four are representatives of

Celebes forms, while only eleven are Moluccan species, and two

more representatives.

But although the Sula islands belong to Celebes, they are so

close to Bouru and the southern islands of the Gilolo group, that

several purely Moluccan forms have migrated there, which are

quite unknown to the island of Celebes itself; the whole thirteen

Moluccan species being in this category, thus adding to the

productions of Celebes a foreign element which does not really

belong to it. In studying the peculiarities of the Celebesian

fauna, it will therefore be well to consider only the productions

of the main island.

The number of land birds in the island of Celebes is 128, and

from these we may, as before, strike out a small number of

species which roam over the whole Archipelago (often from India

to the Pacific), and which therefore only serve to disguise the

peculiarities of individual islands. These are 20 in number, and

leave 108 species which we may consider as more especially

characteristic of the island. On accurately comparing these with

the birds of all the surrounding countries, we find that only

nine extend into the islands westward, and nineteen into the

islands eastward, while no less than 80 are entirely confined to

the Celebesian fauna--a degree of individuality which,

considering the situation of the island, is hardly to be equalled

in any other part of the world. If we still more closely examine

these 80 species, we shall be struck by the many peculiarities of

structure they present, and by the curious affinities with

distant parts of the world which many of them seem to indicate.

These points are of so much interest and importance that it will

be necessary to pass in review all those species which are

peculiar to the island, and to call attention to whatever is most

worthy of remark.

Six species of the Hawk tribe are peculiar to Celebes; three of

these are very distinct from allied birds which range over all

India to Java and Borneo, and which thus seem to be suddenly

changed on entering Celebes. Another (Accipiter trinotatus) is a

beautiful hawk, with elegant rows of large round white spots on

the tail, rendering it very conspicuous and quite different from

any other known bird of the family. Three owls are also peculiar;

and one, a barn owl (Strix rosenbergii), is very much larger and

stronger than its ally Strix javanica, which ranges from India

through all the islands as far as Lombock.

Of the ten Parrots found in Celebes, eight are peculiar. Among

them are two species of the singular raquet-tailed parrots

forming the genus Prioniturus, and which are characterised by

possessing two long spoon-shaped feathers in the tail. Two allied

species are found in the adjacent island of Mindanao, one of the

Philippines, and this form of tail is found in no other parrots

in the whole world. A small species of Lorikeet (Trichoglossus

flavoviridis) seems to have its nearest ally in Australia.

The three Woodpeckers which inhabit the island are all peculiar,

and are allied to species found in Java and Borneo, although very

different from them all.

Among the three peculiar Cuckoos, two are very remarkable.

Phoenicophaus callirhynchus is the largest and handsomest species

of its genus, and is distinguished by the three colours of its

beak, bright yellow, red, and black. Eudynamis melanorynchus

differs from all its allies in having a jet-black bill, whereas

the other species of the genus always have it green, yellow, or


The Celebes Roller (Coracias temmincki) is an interesting example

of one species of a genus being cut off from the rest. There are

species of Coracias in Europe, Asia, and Africa, but none in the

Malay peninsula, Sumatra, Java, or Borneo. The present species

seems therefore quite out of place; and what is still more

curious is the fact that it is not at all like any of the

Asiatic species, but seems more to resemble those of Africa.

In the next family, the Bee-eaters, is another equally isolated

bird, Meropogon forsteni, which combines the characters of

African and Indian Bee-eaters, and whose only near ally,

Meropogon breweri, was discovered by M. Du Chaillu in West


The two Celebes Hornbills have no close allies in those which

abound in the surrounding countries. The only Thrush, Geocichla

erythronota, is most nearly allied to a species peculiar to

Timor. Two of the Flycatchers are closely allied to Indian

species, which are not found in the Malay islands. Two genera

somewhat allied to the Magpies (Streptocitta and Charitornis),

but whose affinities are so doubtful that Professor Schlegel

places them among the Starlings, are entirely confined to

Celebes. They are beautiful long-tailed birds, with black and

white plumage, and with the feathers of the head somewhat rigid

and scale-like.

Doubtfully allied to the Starlings are two other very isolated

and beautiful birds. One, Enodes erythrophrys, has ashy and

yellow plumage, but is ornamented with broad stripes of orange-

red above the eyes. The other, Basilornis celebensis, is a blue-

black bird with a white patch on each side of the breast, and the

head ornamented with a beautiful compressed scaly crest of

feathers, resembling in form that of the well-known Cock-of-the-

rock of South America. The only ally to this bird is found in

Ceram, and has the feathers of the crest elongated upwards into

quite a different form.

A still more curious bird is the Scissirostrum pagei, which

although it is at present classed in the Starling family, differs

from all other species in the form of the bill and nostrils, and

seems most nearly allied in its general structure to the Ox-

peckers (Buphaga) of tropical Africa, next to which the

celebrated ornithologist Prince Bonaparte finally placed it. It

is almost entirely of a slatey colour, with yellow bill and feet,

but the feathers of the rump and upper tail-coverts each

terminate in a rigid, glossy pencil or tuft of a vivid crimson.

These pretty little birds take the place of the metallic-green

starlings of the genus Calornis, which are found in most other

islands of the Archipelago, but which are absent from Celebes.

They go in flocks, feeding upon grain and fruits, often

frequenting dead trees, in holes of which they build their nests;

and they cling to the trunks as easily as woodpeckers or


Out of eighteen Pigeons found in Celebes, eleven are peculiar to

it. Two of them, Ptilonopus gularis and Turacaena menadensis,

have their nearest allies in Timor. Two others, Carpophaga

forsteni and Phlaegenas tristigmata, most resemble Philippine

island species; and Carpophaga radiata belongs to a New Guinea

group. Lastly, in the Gallinaceous tribe, the curious helmeted

Maleo (Megacephalon rubripes) is quite isolated, having its

nearest (but still distant) allies in the Brush-turkeys of

Australia and New Guinea.

Judging, therefore, by the opinions of the eminent naturalists

who have described and classified its birds, we find that many of

the species have no near allies whatsoever in the countries which

surround Celebes, but are either quite isolated, or indicate

relations with such distant regions as New Guinea, Australia,

India, or Africa. Other cases of similar remote affinities

between the productions of distant countries no doubt exist, but

in no spot upon the globe that I am yet acquainted with, do so

many of them occur together, or do they form so decided a feature

in the natural history of the country.

The Mammalia of Celebes are very few in number, consisting of

fourteen terrestrial species and seven bats. Of the former no

less than eleven are peculiar, including two which there is

reason to believe may have been recently carried into other

islands by man. Three species which have a tolerably wide range

in the Archipelago, are: (1) The curious Lemur, Tarsius spectrum,

which is found in all the islands as far westward as Malacca; (2)

the common Malay Civet, Viverra tangalunga, which has a still

wider range; and (3) a Deer, which seems to be the same as the

Rusa hippelaphus of Java, and was probably introduced by man at

an early period.

The more characteristic species are as follow:

Cynopithecus nigrescens, a curious baboon-like monkey if not a

true baboon, which abounds all over Celebes, and is found nowhere

else but in the one small island of Batchian, into which it has

probably been introduced accidentally. An allied species is found

in the Philippines, but in no other island of the Archipelago is

there anything resembling them. These creatures are about the

size of a spaniel, of a jet-black colour, and have the projecting

dog-like muzzle and overhanging brows of the baboons. They have

large red callosities and a short fleshy tail, scarcely an inch

long and hardly visible. They go in large bands, living chiefly

in the trees, but often descending on the ground and robbing

gardens and orchards.

Anoa depressicornis, the Sapi-utan, or wild cow of the Malays, is

an animal which has been the cause of much controversy, as to

whether it should be classed as ox, buffalo, or antelope. It is

smaller than any other wild cattle, and in many respects seems to

approach some of the ox-like antelopes of Africa. It is found

only in the mountains, and is said never to inhabit places where

there are deer. It is somewhat smaller than a small Highland cow,

and has long straight horns, which are ringed at the base and

slope backwards over the neck.

The wild pig seems to be of a species peculiar to the island; but

a much more curious animal of this family is the Babirusa or Pig-

deer; so named by the Malays from its long and slender legs, and

curved tusks resembling horns. This extraordinary creature

resembles a pig in general appearance, but it does not dig with

its snout, as it feeds on fallen fruits. The tusks of the lower

jaw are very long and sharp, but the upper ones instead of

growing downwards in the usual way are completely reversed,

growing upwards out of bony sockets through the skin on each side

of the snout, curving backwards to near the eyes, and in old

animals often reaching eight or ten inches in length. It is

difficult to understand what can be the use of these

extraordinary horn-like teeth. Some of the old writers supposed

that they served as hooks, by which the creature could rest its

head on a branch. But the way in which they usually diverge just

over and in front of the eye has suggested the more probable

idea, that they serve to guard these organs from thorns and

spines, while hunting for fallen fruits among the tangled

thickets of rattans and other spiny plants. Even this, however,

is not satisfactory, for the female, who must seek her food in

the same way, does not possess them. I should be inclined to

believe rather, that these tusks were once useful, and were then

worn down as fast as they grew; but that changed conditions of

life have rendered them unnecessary, and they now develop into a

monstrous form, just as the incisors of the Beaver or Rabbit will

go on growing, if the opposite teeth do not wear them away. In

old animals they reach an enormous size, and are generally broken

off as if by fighting.

Here again we have a resemblance to the Wart-hogs of Africa,

whose upper canines grow outwards and curve up so as to form a

transition from the usual mode of growth to that of the Babirusa.

In other respects there seems no affinity between these animals,

and the Babirusa stands completely isolated, having no

resemblance to the pigs of any other part of the world. It is

found all over Celebes and in the Sula islands, and also in

Bourn, the only spot beyond the Celebes group to which it

extends; and which island also shows some affinity to the Sula

islands in its birds, indicating perhaps, a closer connection

between them at some former period than now exists.

The other terrestrial mammals of Celebes are five species of

squirrels, which are all distinct from those of Java and Borneo,

and mark the furthest eastward range of the genus in the tropics;

and two of Eastern opossums (Cuscus), which are different from

those of the Moluccas, and mark the furthest westward extension

of this genus and of the Marsupial order. Thus we see that the

Mammalia of Celebes are no less individual and remarkable than

the birds, since three of the largest and most interesting

species have no near allies in surrounding countries, but seem

vaguely to indicate a relation to the African continent.

Many groups of insects appear to be especially subject to local

influences, their forms and colours changing with each change of

conditions, or even with a change of locality where the

conditions seem almost identical. We should therefore anticipate

that the individuality manifested in the higher animals would be

still more prominent in these creatures with less stable

organisms. On the other hand, however, we have to consider that

the dispersion and migration of insects is much more easily

effected than that of mammals or even of birds. They are much

more likely to be carried away by violent winds; their eggs may

be carried on leaves either by storms of wind or by floating

trees, and their larvae and pupae, often buried in trunks of

trees or enclosed in waterproof cocoons, may be floated for days

or weeks uninjured over the ocean. These facilities of

distribution tend to assimilate the productions of adjacent lands

in two ways: first, by direct mutual interchange of species; and

secondly, by repeated immigrations of fresh individuals of a

species common to other islands, which by intercrossing, tend to

obliterate the changes of form and colour, which differences of

conditions might otherwise produce. Bearing these facts in mind,

we shall find that the individuality of the insects of Celebes is

even greater than we have any reason to expect.

For the purpose of insuring accuracy in comparisons with other

islands, I shall confine myself to those groups which are best

known, or which I have myself carefully studied. Beginning with

the Papilionidae or Swallow-tailed butterflies, Celebes possesses

24 species, of which the large number of 18 are not found in any

other island. If we compare this with Borneo, which out of 29

species has only two not found elsewhere, the difference is as

striking as anything can be. In the family of the Pieridae, or

white butterflies, the difference is not quite so great, owing

perhaps to the more wandering habits of the group; but it is

still very remarkable. Out of 30 species inhabiting Celebes, 19

are peculiar, while Java (from which more species are known than

from Sumatra or Borneo), out of 37 species, has only 13 peculiar.

The Danaidae are large, but weak-flying butterflies, which

frequent forests and gardens, and are plainly but often very

richly coloured. Of these my own collection contains 16 species

from Celebes and 15 from Borneo; but whereas no less than 14 are

confined to the former island, only two are peculiar to the

latter. The Nymphalidae are a very extensive group, of generally

strong-winged and very bright-coloured butterflies, very abundant

in the tropics, and represented in our own country by our

Fritillaries, our Vanessas, and our Purple-emperor. Some months

ago I drew up a list of the Eastern species of this group,

including all the new ones discovered by myself, and arrived at

the following comparative results:--

           Species of  Species peculiar to      Percentage

          Nymphalidae.    each island.     of peculiar Species.

Java . . . . . 70 . . . . . . 23 . . . . . . . . . . 33

Borneo . . . . 52 . . . . . . 15 . . . . . . . . . . 29

Celebes  . . . 48 . . . . . . 35 . . . . . . . . . . 73

The Coleoptera are so extensive that few of the groups have yet

been carefully worked out. I will therefore refer to one only,

which I have myself recently studied--the Cetoniadae or Rose-

chafers--a group of beetles which, owing to their extreme

beauty, have been much sought after. From Java 37 species of

these insects are known, and from Celebes only 30; yet only 13,

or 35 percent, are peculiar to the former island, and 19, or 63

percent, to the latter.

The result of these comparisons is, that although Celebes is a

single, large island with only a few smaller ones closely grouped

around it, we must really consider it as forming one of the great

divisions of the Archipelago, equal in rank and importance to the

whole of the Moluccan or Philippine groups, to the Papuan

islands, or to the Indo-Malay islands (Java, Sumatra, Borneo, and

the Malay peninsula). Taking those families of insects and birds

which are best known, the following table shows the comparison of

Celebes with the other groups of islands:--



                       PERIDAE               PIGEONS.

                  Percent of peculiar   Percent of peculiar

                       Species.              Species.

Indo-Malay region . . . . 56 . . . . . . . . . . 54

Philippine group  . . . . 66 . . . . . . . . . . 73

Celebes . . . . . . . . . 69 . . . . . . . . . . 60

Moluccan group  . . . . . 52 . . . . . . . . . . 62

Timor group . . . . . . . 42 . . . . . . . . . . 47

Papuan group  . . . . . . 64 . . . . . . . . . . 74

These large and well-known families well represent the general

character of the zoology of Celebes; and they show that this

island is really one of the most isolated portions of the

Archipelago, although situated in its very centre.

But the insects of Celebes present us with other phenomena more

curious and more difficult to explain than their striking

individuality. The butterflies of that island are in many cases

characterised by a peculiarity of outline, which distinguishes

them at a glance from those of any other part of the world. It is

most strongly manifested in the Papilios and the Pieridae, and

consists in the forewings being either strongly curved or

abruptly bent near the base, or in the extremity being elongated

and often somewhat hooked. Out of the 14 species of Papilio in

Celebes, 13 exhibit this peculiarity in a greater or less degree,

when compared with the most nearly allied species of the

surrounding islands. Ten species of Pieridae have the same

character, and in four or five of the Nymphalidae it is also very

distinctly marked. In almost every case, the species found in

Celebes are much larger than thane of the islands westward, and

at least equal to those of the Moluccas, or even larger. The

difference of form is, however, the most remarkable feature, as it

is altogether a new thing for a whole set of species in one

country to differ in exactly the same way from the corresponding

sets in all the surrounding countries; and it is so well marked,

that without looking at the details of colouring, most Celebes

Papilios and many Pieridae, can be at once distinguished from

those of other islands by their form alone.

The outside figure of each pair here given, shows the exact size

and form of the fore-wing in a butterfly of Celebes, while the

inner one represents the most closely allied species from one of

the adjacent islands. Figure 1 shows the strongly curved margin

of the Celebes species, Papilio gigon, compared with the much

straighter margin of Papilio demolion from Singapore and Java.

Figure 2 shows the abrupt bend over the base of the wing in

Papilio miletus of Celebes, compared with the slight curvature in

the common Papilio sarpedon, which has almost exactly the same

form from India to New Guinea and Australia. Figure 3 shows the

elongated wing of Tachyris zarinda, a native of Celebes, compared

with the much shorter wing of Tachyris nero, a very closely

allied species found in all the western islands. The difference

of form is in each case sufficiently obvious, but when the

insects themselves are compared, it is much more striking than in

these partial outlines.

From the analogy of birds, we should suppose that the pointed

wing gave increased rapidity of flight, since it is a character

of terns, swallows, falcons, and of the swift-flying pigeons. A

short and rounded wing, on the other hand, always accompanies a

more feeble or more laborious flight, and one much less under

command. We might suppose, therefore, that the butterflies which

possess this peculiar form were better able to escape pursuit.

But there seems no unusual abundance of insectivorous birds to

render this necessary; and as we cannot believe that such a

curious peculiarity is without meaning, it seems probable that it

is the result of a former condition of things, when the island

possessed a much richer fauna, the relics of which we see in the

isolated birds and Mammalia now inhabiting it; and when the

abundance of insectivorous creatures rendered some unusual means

of escape a necessity for the large-winged and showy butterflies.

It is some confirmation of this view, that neither the very small

nor the very obscurely coloured groups of butterflies have

elongated wings, nor is any modification perceptible in those

strong-winged groups which already possess great strength and

rapidity of flight. These were already sufficiently protected

from their enemies, and did not require increased power of

escaping from them. It is not at all clear what effect the

peculiar curvature of the wings has in modifying flight.

Another curious feature in the zoology of Celebes is also worthy

of attention. I allude to the absence of several groups which are

found on both sides of it, in the Indo-Malay islands as well as

in the Moluccas; and which thus seem to be unable, from some

unknown cause, to obtain a footing in the intervening island. In

Birds we have the two families of Podargidae and Laniadae, which

range over the whole Archipelago and into Australia, and which

yet have no representative in Celebes. The genera Ceyx among

Kingfishers, Criniger among Thrushes, Rhipidura among

Flycatchers, Calornis among Starlings, and Erythrura among

Finches, are all found in the Moluccas as well as in Borneo and

Java--but not a single species belonging to any one of them is

found in Celebes. Among insects, the large genus of Rose-chafers,

Lomaptera, is found in every country and island between India and

New Guinea, except Celebes. This unexpected absence of many

groups, from one limited district in the very centre of their

area of distribution, is a phenomenon not altogether unique, but,

I believe, nowhere so well marked as in this case; and it

certainly adds considerably to the strange character of this

remarkable island.

The anomalies and eccentricities in the natural history of

Celebes which I have endeavoured to sketch in this chapter, all

point to an origin in a remote antiquity. The history of extinct

animals teaches us that their distribution in time and in space

are strikingly similar. The rule is, that just as the productions

of adjacent areas usually resemble each other closely, so do the

productions of successive periods in the same area; and as the

productions of remote areas generally differ widely, so do the

productions of the same area at remote epochs. We are therefore

led irresistibly to the conclusion, that change of species, still

more of generic and of family form, is a matter of time. But time

may have led to a change of species in one country, while in

another the forms have been more permanent, or the change may

have gone on at an equal rate but in a different manner in both.

In either case, the amount of individuality in the productions of

a district will be to some extent a measure of the time that a

district has been isolated from those that surround it. Judged by

this standard, Celebes must be one of the oldest parts of the

Archipelago. It probably dates from a period not only anterior to

that when Borneo, Java, and Sumatra were separated from the

continent, but from that still more remote epoch when the land

that now constitutes these islands had not risen above the ocean.

Such an antiquity is necessary, to account for the number of

animal forms it possesses, which show no relation to those of

India or Australia, but rather with those of Africa; and we are

led to speculate on the possibility of there having once existed

a continent in the Indian Ocean which might serve as a bridge to

connect these distant countries. Now it is a curious fact, that

the existence of such a land has been already thought necessary,

to account for the distribution of the curious Quadrumana forming

the family of the Lemurs. These have their metropolis in

Madagascar, but are found also in Africa, in Ceylon, in the

peninsula of India, and in the Malay Archipelago as far as

Celebes, which is its furthest eastern limit. Dr. Sclater has

proposed for the hypothetical continent connecting these distant

points, and whose former existence is indicated by the Mascarene

islands and the Maldive coral group, the name of Lemuria. Whether

or not we believe in its existence in the exact form here

indicated, the student of geographical distribution must see in

the extraordinary and isolated productions of Celebes, proof of

the former existence of some continent from whence the ancestors

of these creatures, and of many other intermediate forms, could

have been derived.

In this short sketch of the most striking peculiarities of the

Natural History of Celebes, I have been obliged to enter much

into details that I fear will have been uninteresting to the

general reader, but unless I had done so, my exposition would have

lost much of its force and value. It is by these details alone

that I have been able to prove the unusual features that Celebes

presents to us. Situated in the very midst of an Archipelago, and

closely hemmed in on every side by islands teeming with varied

forms of life, its productions have yet a surprising amount of

individuality. While it is poor in the actual number of its

species, it is yet wonderfully rich in peculiar forms, many of

which are singular or beautiful, and are in some cases absolutely

unique upon the globe. We behold here the curious phenomenon of

groups of insects changing their outline in a similar manner when

compared with those of surrounding islands, suggesting some

common cause which never seems to have acted elsewhere in exactly

the same way. Celebes, therefore, presents us with a most

striking example of the interest that attaches to the study of

the geographical distribution of animals. We can see that their

present distribution upon the globe is the result of all the more

recent changes the earth's surface has undergone; and, by a

careful study of the phenomena, we are sometimes able to deduce

approximately what those past changes must have been in order to

produce the distribution we find to exist. In the comparatively

simple case of the Timor group, we were able to deduce these

changes with some approach to certainty. In the much more

complicated case of Celebes, we can only indicate their general

nature, since we now see the result, not of any single or recent

change only, but of a whole series of the later revolutions which

have resulted in the present distribution of land in the Eastern




(DECEMBER 1857, MAY 1859, APRIL 1861.)

THE Dutch mail steamer in which I travelled from Macassar to

Banda and Amboyna was a roomy and comfortable vessel, although it

would only go six miles an hour in the finest weather. As there

were but three passengers besides myself, we had abundance of

room, and I was able to enjoy a voyage more than I had ever done

before. The arrangements are somewhat different from those on

board English or Indian steamers. There are no cabin servants, as

every cabin passenger invariably brings his own, and the ship's

stewards attend only to the saloon and the eating department. At

six A.M. a cup of tea or coffee is provided for those who like

it. At seven to eight there is a light breakfast of tea, eggs,

sardines, etc. At ten, Madeira, Gin and bitters are brought on

deck as a whet for the substantial eleven o'clock breakfast,

which differs from a dinner only in the absence of soup. Cups of

tea and coffee are brought around at three P.M.; bitters, etc.

again at five, a good dinner with beer and claret at half-past

six, concluded by tea and coffee at eight. Between whiles, beer

and sodawater are supplied when called for, so there is no lack

of little gastronomical excitements to while away the tedium of a

sea voyage.

Our first stopping place was Coupang, at the west end of the

large island of Timor. We then coasted along that island for

several hundred miles, having always a view of hilly ranges

covered with scanty vegetation, rising ridge behind ridge to the

height of six or seven thousand feet. Turning off towards Banda

we passed Pulo-Cambing, Wetter, and Roma, all of which are

desolate and barren volcanic islands, almost as uninviting as

Aden, and offering a strange contrast to the usual verdure and

luxuriance of the Archipelago. In two days more we reached the

volcanic group of Banda, covered with an unusually dense and

brilliant green vegetation, indicating that we had passed beyond

the range of the hot dry winds from the plains of Central

Australia. Banda is a lovely little spot, its three islands

enclosing a secure harbour from whence no outlet is visible, and

with water so transparent, that living corals and even the

minutest objects are plainly seen on the volcanic sand at a depth

of seven or eight fathoms. The ever smoking volcano rears its

bare cone on one side, while the two larger islands are clothed

with vegetation to the summit of the hills.

Going on shore, I walked up a pretty path which leads to the

highest point of the island on which the town is situated, where

there is a telegraph station and a magnificent view. Below lies

the little town, with its neat red-tiled white houses and the

thatched cottages of the natives, bounded on one side by the old

Portuguese fort. Beyond, about half a mile distant, lies the

larger island in the shape of a horseshoe, formed of a range of

abrupt hills covered with fine forest and nutmeg gardens; while

close opposite the town is the volcano, forming a nearly perfect

cone, the lower part only covered with a light green bushy

vegetation. On its north side the outline is more uneven, and

there is a slight hollow or chasm about one-fifth of the way

down, from which constantly issue two columns of smoke, as well

as a good deal from the rugged surface around and from some spots

nearer the summit. A white efflorescence, probably sulphur, is

thickly spread over the upper part of the mountain, marked by the

narrow black vertical lines of water gullies. The smoke unites as

it rises, and forms a dense cloud, which in calm, damp weather

spreads out into a wide canopy hiding the top of the mountain. At

night and early morning, it often rises up straight and leaves the

whole outline clear.

It is only when actually gazing on an active volcano that one can

fully realize its awfulness and grandeur. Whence comes that

inexhaustible fire whose dense and sulphurous smoke forever

issues from this bare and desolate peak? Whence the mighty forces

that produced that peak, and still from time to time exhibit

themselves in the earthquakes that always occur in the vicinity

of volcanic vents? The knowledge from childhood of the fact that

volcanoes and earthquakes exist, has taken away somewhat of the

strange and exceptional character that really belongs to them.

The inhabitant of most parts of northern Europe sees in the

earth the emblem of stability and repose. His whole life-

experience, and that of all his age and generation, teaches him

that the earth is solid and firm, that its massive rocks may

contain water in abundance, but never fire; and these essential

characteristics of the earth are manifest in every mountain his

country contains. A volcano is a fact opposed to all this mass of

experience, a fact of so awful a character that, if it were the

rule instead of the exception, it would make the earth

uninhabitable a fact so strange and unaccountable that we may be

sure it would not be believed on any human testimony, if

presented to us now for the first time, as a natural phenomenon

happening in a distant country.

The summit of the small island is composed of a highly

crystalline basalt; lower down I found a hard, stratified slatey

sandstone, while on the beach are huge blocks of lava, and

scattered masses of white coralline limestone. The larger island

has coral rock to a height of three or four hundred feet, while

above is lava and basalt. It seems probable, therefore, that this

little group of four islands is the fragment of a larger district

which was perhaps once connected with Ceram, but which was

separated and broken up by the same forces which formed the

volcanic cone. When I visited the larger island on another

occasion, I saw a considerable tract covered with large forest

trees--dead, but still standing. This was a record of the last

great earthquake only two years ago, when the sea broke in over

this part of the island and so flooded it as to destroy the

vegetation on all the lowlands. Almost every year there is an

earthquake here, and at intervals of a few years, very severe

ones which throw down houses and carry ships out of the harbour

bodily into the streets.

Notwithstanding the losses incurred by these terrific

visitations, and the small size and isolated position of these

little islands, they have been and still are of considerable

value to the Dutch Government, as the chief nutmeg-garden in the

world. Almost the whole surface is planted with nutmegs, grown

under the shade of lofty Kanary trees (Kanarium commune). The

light volcanic soil, the shade, and the excessive moisture of

these islands, where it rains more or less every month in the

year, seem exactly to suit the nutmeg-tree, which requires no

manure and scarcely any attention. All the year round flowers and

ripe fruit are to be found, and none of those diseases occur

which under a forced and unnatural system of cultivation have

ruined the nutmeg planters of Singapore and Penang.

Few cultivated plants are more beautiful than nutmeg-trees. They

are handsomely shaped and glossy-leaved, growing to the height of

twenty or thirty feet, and bearing small yellowish flowers. The

fruit is the size and colour of a peach, but rather oval. It is

of a tough fleshy consistence, but when ripe splits open, and

shows the dark-brown nut within, covered with the crimson mace,

and is then a most beautiful object. Within the thin, hard shell

of the nut is the seed, which is the nutmeg of commerce. The nuts

are eaten by the large pigeons of Banda, which digest the mace,

but cast up the nut with its seed uninjured.

The nutmeg trade has hitherto been a strict monopoly of the Dutch

Government; but since leaving the country I believe that this

monopoly has been partially or wholly discontinued, a proceeding

which appears exceedingly injudicious and quite unnecessary.

There are cases in which monopolies are perfectly justifiable,

and I believe this to be one of them. A small country like

Holland cannot afford to keep distant and expensive colonies at

a loss; and having possession of a very small island where a

valuable product, not a necessity of life, can be obtained at

little cost, it is almost the duty of the state to monopolise

it. No injury is done thereby to anyone, but a great benefit is

conferred upon the whole population of Holland and its

dependencies, since the produce of the state monopolies saves

them from the weight of a heavy taxation. Had the Government not

kept the nutmeg trade of Banda in its own hands, it is probable

that the whole of the islands would long ago have become the

property of one or more large capitalists. The monopoly would

have been almost the same, since no known spot on the globe can

produce nutmegs so cheaply as Banda, but the profits of the

monopoly world have gone to a few individuals instead of to the


As an illustration of how a state monopoly may become a state duty,

let us suppose that no gold existed in Australia, but that it had

been found in immense quantities by one of our ships in some small

and barren island. In this case it would plainly become the duty of

the state to keep and work the mines for the public benefit, since

by doing so, the gain would be fairly divided among the whole population

by decrease of taxation; whereas by leaving it open to free trade

while merely keeping the government of the island; we should certainly

produce enormous evils during the first struggle for the precious

metal, and should ultimately subside into the monopoly of some wealthy

individual or great company, whose enormous revenue would not

equally benefit the community. The nutmegs of Banda and the tin

of Banca are to some extent parallel cases to this supposititious

one, and I believe the Dutch Government will act most unwisely if

they give up their monopoly.

Even the destruction of the nutmeg and clove trees in many

islands, in order to restrict their cultivation to one or two

where the monopoly could be easily guarded, usually made the

theme of so much virtuous indignation against the Dutch, may be

defended on similar principles, and is certainly not nearly so

bad as many monopolies we ourselves have until very recently

maintained. Nutmegs and cloves arc not necessaries of life; they

are not even used as spices by the natives of the Moluccas, and

no one was materially or permanently injured by the destruction

of the trees, since there are a hundred other products that can

be grown in the same islands, equally valuable and far more

beneficial in a social point of view. It is a case exactly

parallel to our prohibition of the growth of tobacco in England,

for fiscal purposes, and is, morally and economically, neither

better nor worse. The salt monopoly which we so long maintained

in India was in much worse. As long as we keep up a system of

excise and customs on articles of daily use, which requires an

elaborate array of officers and coastguards to carry into effect,

and which creates a number of purely legal crimes, it is the

height of absurdity for us to affect indignation at the conduct

of the Dutch, who carried out a much more justifiable, less

hurtful, and more profitable system in their Eastern possessions.

I challenge objectors to point out any physical or moral evils

that have actually resulted from the action of the Dutch

Government in this matter; whereas such evils are the admitted

results of every one of our monopolies and restrictions. The

conditions of the two experiments are totally different. The true

"political economy" of a higher race, when governing a lower race,

has never yet been worked out. The application of our "political

economy" to such cases invariably results in the extinction or

degradation of the lower race; whence, we may consider it probable

that one of the necessary conditions of its truth is the

approximate mental and social unity of the society in which it is

applied. I shall again refer to this subject in my chapter on

Ternate, one of the most celebrated of the old spice-islands.

The natives of Banda are very much mixed, and it is probable that

at least three-fourths of the population are mongrels, in various

degrees of Malay, Papuan, Arab, Portuguese, and Dutch. The first

two form the bases of the larger portion, and the dark skins,

pronounced features, and more or less frizzly hair of the Papuans

preponderates. There seems little doubt that the aborigines of

Banda were Papuans, and a portion of them still exists in the Ke

islands, where they emigrated when the Portuguese first took

possession of their native island. It is such people as these

that are often looked upon as transitional forms between two very

distinct races, like the Malays and Papuans, whereas they are

only examples of intermixture.

The animal productions of Banda, though very few, are

interesting. The islands have perhaps no truly indigenous

Mammalia but bats. The deer of the Moluccas and the pig have

probably been introduced. A species of Cuscus or Eastern opossum

is also found at Banda, and this may be truly indigenous in the

sense of not having been introduced by man. Of birds, during my

three visits of one or two days each, I collected eight kinds,

and the Dutch collectors have added a few others. The most

remarkable is a fine and very handsome fruit-pigeon, Carpophaga

concinna, which feeds upon the nutmegs, or rather on the mace,

and whose loud booming note is to be continually heard. This bird

is found in the Ke and Matabello islands as well as Banda, but

not in Ceram or any of the larger islands, which are inhabited by

allied but very distinct species. A beautiful small fruit-dove,

Ptilonopus diadematus, is also peculiar to Banda.




TWENTY hours from Banda brought us to Amboyna, the capital of the

Moluccas, and one of the oldest European settlements in the East.

The island consists of two peninsulas, so nearly divided by

inlets of the sea, as to leave only a sandy isthmus about a mile

wide near their eastern extremity. The western inlet is several

miles long and forms a fine harbour on the southern side of

which is situated the town of Amboyna. I had a letter of

introduction to Dr. Mohnike, the chief medical officer of the

Moluccas, a German and a naturalist. I found that he could write

and read English, but could not speak it, being like myself a bad

linguist; so we had to use French as a medium of communication.

He kindly offered me a room during my stay in Amboyna, and

introduced me to his junior, Dr. Doleschall, a Hungarian and also

an entomolog´st. He was an intelligent and most amiable young man

but I was shocked to find that he was dying of consumption,

though still able to perform the duties of his office. In the

evening my host took me to the residence of the Governor, Mr.

Goldmann, who received me in a most kind and cordial manner, and

offered me every assistance. The town of Amboyna consists of a

few business streets, and a number of roads set out at right

angles to each other, bordered by hedges of flowering shrubs, and

enclosing country houses and huts embossed in palms and fruit

trees. Hills and mountains form the background in almost every

direction, and there are few places more enjoyable for a morning

or evening stroll than these sandy roads and shady lanes in the

suburbs of the ancient city of Amboyna.

There are no active volcanoes in the island, nor is it now

subject to frequent earthquakes, although very severe ones have

occurred and may be expected again. Mr. William Funnell, in his

voyage with Dampier to the South Seas in 1705, says: "Whilst we

were here, (at Amboyna) we had a great earthquake, which

continued two days, in which time it did a great deal of

mischief, for the ground burst open in many places, and swallowed

up several houses and whole families. Several of the people were

dug out again, but most of them dead, and many had their legs or

arms broken by the fall of the houses. The castle walls were rent

asunder in several places, and we thought that it and all the

houses would have fallen down. The ground where we were swelled

like a wave in the sea, but near us we had no hurt done." There

are also numerous records of eruptions of a volcano on the west

side of the island. In 1674 an eruption destroyed a village. In

1694 there was another eruption. In I797 much vapour and heat was

emitted. Other eruptions occurred in 1816 and 1820, and in 1824 a

new crater is said to have been formed. Yet so capricious is the

action of these subterranean fires, that since the last-named

epoch all eruptive symptoms have so completely ceased, that I was

assured by many of the most intelligent European inhabitants of

Amboyna, that they had never heard of any such thing as a volcano

on the island.

During the few days that elapsed before I could make arrangements 

to visit the interior, I enjoyed myself much in the society of

the two doctors, both amiable and well-educated men, and both

enthusiastic entomologists, though obliged to increase their

collections almost entirely by means of native collectors.

Dr. Doleschall studied chiefly the flies and spiders, but also

collected butterflies and moths, and in his boxes I saw grand

specimens of the emerald Ornithoptera priamus and the azure

Papilio Ulysses, with many more of the superb butterflies of this

rich island. Dr. Mohnike confined himself chiefly to the beetles,

and had formed a magnificent collection during many years

residence in Java, Sumatra, Borneo, Japan, and Amboyna. The

Japanese collection was especially interesting, containing both

the fine Carabi of northern countries, and the gorgeous

Buprestidae and Longicorns of the tropics. The doctor made the

voyage to Jeddo by land from Nagasaki, and is well acquainted

with the character, manners, and customs of the people of Japan,

and with the geology, physical features, and natural history of

the country. He showed me collections of cheap woodcuts printed

in colours, which are sold at less than a farthing each, and

comprise an endless variety of sketches of Japanese scenery and

manners. Though rude, they are very characteristic, and often

exhibit touches of great humour. He also possesses a large

collection of coloured sketches of the plants of Japan, made by a

Japanese lady, which are the most masterly things I have ever

seen. Every stem, twig, and leaf is produced by single touches of

the brush, the character and perspective of very complicated

plants being admirably given, and the articulations of stem and

leaves shown in a most scientific manner.

Having made arrangements to stay for three weeks at a small hut

on a newly cleared plantation in the interior of the northern

half of the island, I with some difficulty obtained a boat and

men to take me across the water--for the Amboynese are dreadfully

lazy. Passing up the harbour, in appearance like a fine river,

the clearness of the water afforded me one of the most

astonishing and beautiful sights I have ever beheld. The bottom

was absolutely hidden by a continuous series of corals, sponges,

actinic, and other marine productions of magnificent dimensions,

varied forms, and brilliant colours. The depth varied from about

twenty to fifty feet, and the bottom was very uneven, rocks and

chasms and little hills and valleys, offering a variety of

stations for the growth of these animal forests. In and out among

them, moved numbers of blue and red and yellow fishes, spotted

and banded and striped in the most striking manner, while great

orange or rosy transparent medusa floated along near the surface.

It was a sight to gaze at for hours, and no description can do

justice to its surpassing beauty and interest. For once, the

reality exceeded the most glowing accounts I had ever read of the

wonders of a coral sea. There is perhaps no spot in the world

richer in marine productions, corals, shells and fishes, than the

harbour of Amboyna.

From the north side of the harbour, a good broad path passes

through swamp clearing and forest, over hill and valley, to the

farther side of the island; the coralline rock constantly

protruding through the deep red earth which fills all the

hollows, and is more or less spread over the plains and hill-

sides. The forest vegetation is here of the most luxuriant

character; ferns and palms abound, and the climbing rattans were

more abundant than I had ever seen them, forming tangled festoons

over almost every large forest tree. The cottage I was to occupy

was situated in a large clearing of about a hundred acres, part

of which was already planted with young cacao-trees and plantains

to shade them, while the rest was covered with dead and half-

burned forest trees; and on one side there was a tract where the

trees had been recently felled and were not yet burned. The path

by which I had arrived continued along one side of this clearing,

and then again entering the virgin forest passed over hill and

dale to the northern aide of the island.

My abode was merely a little thatched hut, consisting of an open

verandah in front and a small dark sleeping room behind. It was

raised about five feet from the ground, and was reached by rude

steps to the centre of the verandah. The walls and floor were of

bamboo, and it contained a table, two bamboo chairs, and a couch.

Here I soon made myself comfortable, and set to work hunting for

insects among the more recently felled timber, which swarmed with

fine Curculionidae, Longicorns, and Buprestidae, most of them

remarkable for their elegant forms or brilliant colours, and

almost all entirely new to me. Only the entomologist can

appreciate the delight with which I hunted about for hours in the

hot sunshine, among the branches and twigs and bark of the fallen

trees, every few minutes securing insects which were at that time

almost all rare or new to European collections.

In the shady forest paths were many fine butterflies, most

conspicuous among which was the shining blue Papilio Ulysses, one

of the princes of the tribe, though at that time so rare in

Europe, I found it absolutely common in Amboyna, though not easy

to obtain in fine condition, a large number of the specimens

being found when captured to have the wings torn or broken. It

flies with a rather weak undulating motion, and from its large

size, its tailed wings and brilliant colour, is one of the most

tropical-looking insects the naturalist can gaze upon.

There is a remarkable contrast between the beetles of Amboyna and

those of Macassar, the latter generally small and obscure, the

former large and brilliant. On the whole, the insects here most

resemble those of the Aru islands, but they are almost always of

distinct species, and when they are most nearly allied to each

other, the species of Amboyna are of larger size and more

brilliant colours, so that one might be led to conclude that in

passing east and west into a less favourable soil and climate,

they had degenerated into less striking forms.

Of an evening I generally sat reading in the verandah, ready to

capture any insects that were attracted to the light. One night

about nine o'clock, I heard a curious noise and rustling

overhead, as if some heavy animal were crawling slowly over the

thatch. The noise soon ceased, and I thought no more about it and

went to bed soon afterwards. The next afternoon just before

dinner, being rather tired with my day's work, I was lying on the

couch with a book in my hand, when gazing upwards I saw a large

mass of something overhead which I had not noticed before.

Looking more carefully I could see yellow and black marks, and

thought it must be a tortoise-shell put up there out of the way

between the ridge-pole and the roof Continuing to gaze, it

suddenly resolved itself into a large snake, compactly coiled up

in a kind of knot; and I could detect his head and his bright

eyes in the very centre of the folds. The noise of the evening

before was now explained. A python had climbed up one of the

posts of the house, and had made his way under the thatch within

a yard of my head, and taken up a comfortable position in the

roof--and I had slept soundly all night directly under him.

I called to my two boys who were skinning birds below and said,

"Here's a big snake in the roof;" but as soon as I had shown it

to them they rushed out of the house and begged me to come out

directly. Finding they were too much afraid to do anything, we

called some of the labourers in the plantation, and soon had half

a dozen men in consultation outside. One of these, a native of

Bouru, where there are a great many snakes, said he would get him

out, and proceeded to work in a businesslike manner. He made a

strong noose of rattan, and with a long pole in the other hand

poked at the snake, who then began slowly to uncoil itself. He

then managed to slip the noose over its head, and getting it well

on to the body, dragged the animal down. There was a great

scuffle as the snake coiled round the chairs and posts to resist

his enemy, but at length the man caught hold of its tail, rushed

out of the house (running so quick that the creature seemed quite

confounded), and tried to strike its head against a tree. He

missed however, and let go, and the snake got under a dead trunk

close by. It was again poked out, and again the Bourn man caught

hold of its tail, and running away quickly dashed its head with a

swing against a tree, and it was then easily killed with a

hatchet. It was about twelve feet long and very thick, capable of

doing much mischief and of swallowing a dog or a child.

I did not get a great many birds here. The most remarkable were

the fine crimson lory, Eos rubra--a brush-tongued parroquet of a

vivid crimson colour, which was very abundant. Large flocks of

them came about the plantation, and formed a magnificent object

when they settled down upon some flowering tree, on the nectar of

which lories feed. I also obtained one or two specimens of the

fine racquet-tailed kingfisher of Amboyna, Tanysiptera nais, one

of the most singular and beautiful of that beautiful family.

These birds differ from all other kingfishers (which have usually

short tails) by having the two middle tail-feathers immensely

lengthened and very narrowly webbed, but terminated by a spoon-

shaped enlargement, as in the motmots and some of the humming-

birds. They belong to that division of the family termed king-

hunters, living chiefly on insects and small land-molluscs, which

they dart down upon and pick up from the ground, just as a

kingfisher picks a fish out of the water. They are confined to a

very limited area, comprising the Moluccas, New Guinea and

Northern Australia. About ten species of these birds are now

known, all much resembling each other, but yet sufficiently

distinguishable in every locality. The Amboynese species, of

which a very accurate representation is here given, is one of the

largest and handsomest. It is full seventeen inches long to the

tips of the tail-feathers; the bill is coral red, the under-

surface pure white, the back and wings deep purple, while the

shoulders, head and nape, and some spots on the upper part of the

back and wings, are pure azure blue; the tail is white, with the

feathers narrowly blue-edged, but the narrow part of the long

feathers is rich blue. This was an entirely new species, and has

been well named after an ocean goddess, by Mr. R. G. Gray.

On Christmas eve I returned to Amboyna, where I stayed about ten

days with my kind friend Dr. Mohnike. Considering that I had been

away only twenty days, and that on five or six of those I was

prevented doing any thing by wet weather and slight attacks of

fever, I had made a very nice collection of insects, comprising a

much larger proportion of large and brilliant species than I had

ever before obtained in so short a time. Of the beautiful

metallic Buprestidae I had about a dozen handsome species, yet in

the doctor's collection I observed four or five more very fine

ones, so that Amboyna is unusually rich in this elegant group.

During my stay here I had a good opportunity of seeing how

Europeans live in the Dutch colonies, and where they have adopted

customs far more in accordance with the climate than we have done

in our tropical possessions. Almost all business is transacted in

the morning between the hours of seven and twelve, the afternoon

being given up to repose, and the evening to visiting. When in

the house during the heat of the day, and even at dinner, they

use a loose cotton dress, only putting on a suit of thin

European-made clothes for out of doors and evening wear. They

often walk about after sunset bareheaded, reserving the black hat

for visits of ceremony. Life is thus made far more agreeable, and

the fatigue and discomfort incident to the climate greatly

diminished. Christmas day is not made much of, but on New Year's

day official and complimentary visits are paid, and about sunset

we went to the Governor's, where a large party of ladies and

gentlemen were assembled. Tea and coffee were handed around, as is

almost universal during a visit, as well as cigars, for on no

occasion is smoking prohibited in Dutch colonies, cigars being

generally lighted before the cloth is withdrawn at dinner, even

though half the company are ladies. I here saw for the first time

the rare black lory from New Guinea, Chalcopsitta atra. The

plumage is rather glossy, and slightly tinged with yellowish and

purple, the bill and feet being entirely black.

The native Amboynese who reside in the city are a strange half-

civilized, half-savage lazy people, who seem to be a mixture of at

least three races--Portuguese, Malay, and Papuan or Ceramese,

with an occasional cross of Chinese or Dutch. The Portuguese

element decidedly predominates in the old Christian population,

as indicated by features, habits, and the retention of many

Portuguese words in the Malay, which is now their language. They

have a peculiar style of dress which they wear among themselves,

a close-fitting white shirt with black trousers, and a black

frock or upper shirt. The women seem to prefer a dress entirely

black. On festivals and state occasions they adopt the swallow-

tail coat, chimneypot hat, and their accompaniments, displaying

all the absurdity of our European fashionable dress. Though now

Protestants, they preserve at feasts and weddings the processions

and music of the Catholic Church, curiously mixed up with the

gongs and dances of the aborigines of the country. Their language

has still much more Portuguese than Dutch in it, although they

have been in close communication with the latter nation for more

than two hundred and fifty years; even many names of birds, trees

and other natural objects, as well as many domestic terms, being

plainly Portuguese. [The following are a few of the Portuguese

words in common use by the Malay-speaking natives of Amboyna and

the other Molucca islands: Pombo (pigeon); milo (maize); testa

(forehead); horas (hours); alfinete (pin); cadeira (chair); lenco

(handkerchief); fresco (cool); trigo (flour); sono (sloop);

familia (family); histori (talk); vosse (you); mesmo (even);

cunhado (brother-in-law); senhor (sir); nyora for signora

(madam). None of them, however, have the least notion that these

words belong to a European language.] This people seems to have

had a marvellous power of colonization, and a capacity for

impressing their national characteristics on every country they

conquered, or in which they effected a merely temporary

settlement. In a suburb of Amboyna there is a village of

aboriginal Malays who are Mahometans, and who speak a peculiar

language allied to those of Ceram, as well as Malay. They are

chiefly fishermen, and are said to be both more industrious and

more honest than the native Christians.

I went on Sunday, by invitation, to see a collection of shells

and fish made by a gentleman of Amboyna. The fishes are perhaps

unrivalled for variety and beauty by those of any one spot on the

earth. The celebrated Dutch ichthyologist, Dr. Blecker, has given

a catalogue of seven hundred and eighty species found at Amboyna,

a number almost equal to those of all the seas and rivers of

Europe. A large proportion of them are of the most brilliant

colours, being marked with bands and spots of the purest yellows,

reds, and blues; while their forms present all that strange and

endless variety so characteristic of the inhabitants of the

ocean. The shells are also very numerous, and comprise a number

of the finest species in the world. The Mactras and Ostreas in

particular struck me by the variety and beauty of their colours.

Shells have long been an object of traffic in Amboyna; many of

the natives get their living by collecting and cleaning them, and

almost every visitor takes away a small collection. The result is

that many of the commoner-sorts have lost all value in the eyes

of the amateur, numbers of the handsome but very common cones,

cowries, and olives sold in the streets of London for a penny

each, being natives of the distant isle of Amboyna, where they

cannot be bought so cheaply. The fishes in the collection were

all well preserved in clear spirit in hundreds of glass jars, and

the shells were arranged in large shallow pith boxes lined with

paper, every specimen being fastened down with thread. I roughly

estimated that there were nearly a thousand different kinds of

shells, and perhaps ten thousand specimens, while the collection

of Amboyna fishes was nearly perfect.

On the 4th of January I left Amboyna for Ternate; but two years

later, in October 1859, I again visited it after my residence in

Menado, and stayed a month in the town in a small house which I

hired for the sake of assorting and packing up a large and varied

collection which I had brought with me from North Celebes,

Ternate, and Gilolo. I was obliged to do this because the mail

steamer would have come the following month by way of Amboyna to

Ternate, and I should have been delayed two months before I could

have reached the former place. I then paid my first visit to

Ceram, and on returning to prepare for my second more complete

exploration of that island, I stayed (much against my will) two

months at Paso, on the isthmus which connects the two portions of

the island of Amboyna. This village is situated on the eastern

side of the isthmus, on sandy ground, with a very pleasant view

over the sea to the island of Haruka. On the Amboyna side of the

isthmus there is a small river which has been continued by a

shallow canal to within thirty yards of high-water mark on the

other side. Across this small space, which is sandy and but

slightly elevated, all small boats and praus can be easily

dragged, and all the smaller traffic from Ceram and the islands

of Sapar˙a and Har˙ka, passes through Paso. The canal is not

continued quite through, merely because every spring-tide would

throw up just such a sand-bank as now exists.

I had been informed that the fine butterfly Ornithoptera priamus

was plentiful here, as well as the racquet-tailed kingfisher and

the ring-necked lory. I found, however, that I had missed the

time for the former: and birds of all kinds were very scarce,

although I obtained a few good ones, including one or two of the

above-mentioned rarities. I was much pleased to get here the fine

long-armed chafer, Euchirus longimanus. This extraordinary insect

is rarely or never captured except when it comes to drink the sap

of the sugar palms, where it is found by the natives when they go

early in the morning to take away the bamboos which have been

filled during the night. For some time one or two were brought me

every day, generally alive. They are sluggish insects, and pull

themselves lazily along by means of their immense forelegs. A

figure of this and other Moluccan beetles is given in the 27th

chapter of this work.

I was kept at Paso by an inflammatory eruption, brought on by the

constant attacks of small acari-like harvest-bugs, for which the

forests of Ceram are famous, and also by the want of nourishing

food while in that island. At one time I was covered with severe

boils. I had them on my eye, cheek, armpits, elbows, back,

thighs, knees, and ankles, so that I was unable to sit or walk,

and had great difficulty in finding a side to lie upon without

pain. These continued for some weeks, fresh ones coming out as

fast as others got well; but good living and sea baths ultimately

cured them.

About the end of January Charles Allen, who had been my assistant

in Malacca and Borneo, again joined me on agreement for three

years; and as soon as I got tolerably well, we had plenty to do

laying in stores and making arrangements for our ensuing

campaign. Our greatest difficulty was in obtaining men, but at

last we succeeded in getting two each. An Amboyna Christian named

Theodorus Watakena, who had been some time with me and had learned

to skin birds very well, agreed to go with Allen, as well as a

very quiet and industrious lad named Cornelius, whom I had

brought from Menado. I had two Amboynese, named Petrus Rehatta,

and Mesach Matahena; the latter of whom had two brothers, named

respectively Shadrach and Abednego, in accordance with the usual

custom among these people of giving only Scripture names to their


During the time I resided in this place, I enjoyed a luxury I have

never met with either before or since--the true bread-fruit. A

good deal of it has been planted about here and in the

surrounding villages, and almost everyday we had opportunities

of purchasing some, as all the boats going to Amboyna were

unloaded just opposite my door to be dragged across the isthmus.

Though it grows in several other parts of the Archipelago, it is

nowhere abundant, and the season for it only lasts a short time.

It is baked entire in the hot embers, and the inside scooped out

with a spoon. I compared it to Yorkshire pudding; Charles Allen

said it was like mashed potatoes and milk. It is generally about

the size of a melon, a little fibrous towards the centre, but

everywhere else quite smooth and puddingy, something in

consistence between yeast-dumplings and batter-pudding. We

sometimes made curry or stew of it, or fried it in slices; but it

is no way so good as simply baked. It may be eaten sweet or

savory. With meat and gravy it is a vegetable superior to any I

know, either in temperate or tropical countries. With sugar,

milk, butter, or treacle, it is a delicious pudding, having a

very slight and delicate but characteristic flavour, which, like

that of good bread and potatoes, one never gets tired of. The

reason why it is comparatively scarce is that it is a fruit of

which the seeds are entirely aborted by cultivation, and the tree

can therefore only be propagated by cuttings. The seed-bearing

variety is common all over the tropics, and though the seeds are

very good eating, resembling chestnuts, the fruit is quite

worthless as a vegetable. Now that steam and Ward's cases render

the transport of young plants so easy, it is much to be wished

that the best varieties of this unequalled vegetable should be

introduced into our West India islands, and largely propagated

there. As the fruit will keep some time after being gathered, we

might then be able to obtain this tropical luxury in Covent

Garden Market.

Although the few months I at various times spent in Amboyna were

not altogether very profitable to me in the way of collections,

it will always remain as a bright spot in the review of my

Eastern travels, since it was there that I first made the

acquaintance of those glorious birds and insects which render

the Moluccas classic ground in the eyes of the naturalist, and

characterise its fauna as one of the most remarkable and

beautiful upon the globe. On the 20th of February I finally

quitted Amboyna for Ceram and Waigiou, leaving Charles Allen to

go by a Government boat to Wahai on the north coast of Ceram, and

thence to the unexplored island of Mysol.

End of V1 of Project Gutenberg's The Malay Archipelago by Alfred R. Wallace